Sunday, December 30, 2007

Taking Stock of 2007

Today I put on my "fat" jeans and waddled out to the studio...finally... I needed to get out there, but kept finding excuses not to. And the more I put off taking stock of 2007, the harder it got to walk out there. But I did, and it's a good thing.

I took Alyson Stanfield's idea of writing down one's accomplishments, and used her list as a guideline. The point being, it's overwhelming sometimes to look at all the things we have yet to do, so it's a good idea to take stock of what you HAVE done. I noticed, as I wrote this, that I kept wanting to add, "but I still need to...". I refrained. Here's what I came up with:

In 2007:

I PROMOTED MY ART by getting my website up, starting this blog and posting regularly, sending out two mailings, inadvertantly having two newspaper articles written about me, and by being in the right place at the right time as Inspirational Director for the Tahoe Arts & Mountain Culture website as founder Becky Bell promoted the hell out of it.

I ENHANCED MY ONLINE PRESENCE by writing lots of blog posts, opening an Etsy store, posting on the Underground Artists blog, hosting a Virtual Open Studio, and somehow, due to a local news article about my neighborhood , I'm turning up in all sorts of weird online places, which is actually kind of creepy.

TECHNICAL SKILLS: Hmm... not a lot of that, but I did learn how to add a YouTube video to my blog...

I added approximately 40 names to my MAILING LIST, but actually it's more; I had to delete some names too, as the people had moved or been abducted by aliens since I last bothered to do a mailing a few years ago...

Okay, this one was fun:
Who are the TOP TEN COOL OR INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE you met this year?
I won't list them all here, but I will mention the surprisingly welcoming art community in Truckee, and the fact that I met Liz Mamorsky, who is very, very cool. And of course my favorite British person, Shelley Hocknell, who, also, is extremely cool.

Moving on, I created NEW BUSINESS CARDS using an online service and some advice from one of Luann Udell's blog posts. I also created a seemingly useless promotional piece which can be used as a handy doorstop!

A MEDIUM OR SKILL MASTERED? "Mastered" is a strong word, but I know that I reached a certain level of comfort in working with the laminated recycled paper. I also feel I managed to create jewelry that other people seem willing to wear in public.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT that I attempted would be the Art Helmets (although they closely resemble the bowls, but upside down). But I did learn to use the epoxy resin with the paper forms (how else is a girl supposed to create horns?).

RESOURCES DISCOVERED? Huh? The hugest resource I discovered was the support of my art group. That works for me.

IMPROVED STUDIO HABITS - having a new, dedicated studio space made all the difference in the world (my previous studio was nicknamed "the Ice Cave")(for good reason). I managed to get out there at the same time most days, to stop working at a regular time (much harder) and worked at least five days a week, if you don't count my obsessive habit of thinking about art all the time...

SUBMISSIONS? Invited to participate in ClayNichols Annual Invitational Urn Show; accepted into the Artisan Shop by North Tahoe Arts; the art helmets were accepted into one of Riverside Studio's monthly themed shows; also accepted into Tahoe Arts Project's Fine Art Festival.

BUT THE SINGLE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO MY ART CAREER in 2007 was the founding of the Underground Artists, and my friends' willingness to start the group with me. Wait: that, and the new studio. I get two "single" things. Lucky me!

That was a little bit uncomfortable...feels too much like tooting one's own horn. But it was helpful...it did kick-start my memory a bit, and it does appear as if something got done last year. Good.

Next up:
Goals for 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

San Francisco Street Art / Graffiti

Yesterday I posted a link to Shelley Hocknell's "Painting a Day" blog, where she had posted a YouTube video. I thought that was pretty cool, even though I don't use YouTube much. But I wanted to learn how to do it. I'm posting this cool video as a sort of test. I live about four hours away from San Francisco, and have seen a few of these amazing murals... (even have a photo of myself in front of the first one shown) but it's very cool to see them all put together in this way. I love SF.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ho Ho Homebody

Even obsessive artists need some time off. I took the last two days to visit my dad, and today to do pretty much nothing, except continue the choco-fest.

The cool thing about this blog is that people keep popping up to say that they've visited the blog; people I haven't heard from in years, including my ex-pat cousin. I love hearing that. (If you're one of these people, please try to register with Google to comment! It's really not hard and only takes a few minutes. I KNOW it's a deterrent to commenting, to have to register, but hopefully it keeps out spammers, and I really love hearing from you. Also, you can always email me to say hi, if you're having trouble with the registration process.)

I'm going to get back to work tomorrow; clean up the studio and get organized for the new year. In the meantime, here's a link to Shelley Hocknell's new blog: Painting A Day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yes, Yes I Know...Or, the Holiday Rant, 2nd Installment

Yes, I know it's Christmas Eve day, and I should get a life and not be blogging. But to be honest, there's a few reasons for this post. First of all, it's part of my greater scheme to keep myself from eating all of the chocolate in the house. There is a mind-boggling amount of it, between what was leftover from the Open Studio, the chocolate my husband always buys for stocking stuffers (it's hidden, but I'm sure I could find it if I needed to), the chocolate I always buy for stocking stuffers, and the famed Disappearing Butterscotch Marshmallow Brownies (which, although they are butterscotch brownies, they are nonetheless brownies, and therefore qualify).

But the greater reason is just that I enjoy posting, and with this break from the studio, I am still thinking art; maybe even MORE likely to post, because I'm not in the studio making it. This whole Christmas holiday just seems like an obstacle to being in the studio. I've turned to creative gift-wrapping, but it's not the same!

Anybody else share my frustration?

Friday, December 21, 2007

An Art Year: Shifting Balance

Happy Solstice, Art Fans!

It's seven degrees here, at 12:15 in the afternoon.

SEVEN. Degrees.

But that's not what I sat down to write about. This is my "end-of-year" post, partly because it 's the Solstice and partly because I'm just feeling that way today. As I sit here, my other computer is cycling through its screensaver photos, and I'm reminded of what a good year it was. In her newsletter this week, Alyson Stanfied wrote about using this time to focus on our accomplishments, in an article called "Celebrate Your Wins", that might help jog our memories. I plan on using this, either on my own, or with the Underground Artists (if they're willing!). Because I know that some days I feel like I've made a lot of mistakes this year, but with age comes at least a small bit of wisdom. So I want to focus on what I learned, and what I accomplished this year, before heading into the new one.



I live on Saint Nick Way, in a place called Christmas Valley, and a reporter for the local paper came by the other day to interview me for a piece she was doing on said valley (read article here). We sat down to talk in the studio and she asked me how long I'd been doing this work. I had to really think before I answered, because I've been at it since before my first son was born 13 years ago, yet it was only this year that the balance shifted between my responsibilites to my boys and my responsibility to myself and my art. And so I told her "a year". I've really been doing this with intention and a sense of commitment for one year. And I think it's been a pretty good one.


A frickin' great one.


In the spirit of gathering up myself for this new one, 2008, I feel myself being drawn to return to some 2D work. I sat down and did a quick piece on the morning of my Open Studio. It's a start. And it was fun. More to come, next year. For now, the work space will be transformed into a wreath-making, gift-wrapping station.


Happy Holidays, and stay warm!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Rant, the Christmas Version

I'm about delirious from lack of sleep; and it ain't from no sugarplums dancing in my head. Between preparing for the holiday Open Studios, and my state of denial about the actual holiday (quite an interesting fine line, wouldn't you say?) I managed to put off any holiday shopping until today, when I had, oh, about 3 hours of sleep. Being that we live in a resort town, the weekend before Christmas is a BAD time to be in town, so I forced myself out the door today (Thursday), with less-than-terrific results. (Thank GOD for Shelley and the tea and homemade mince pies! Thanks, Shelley!)

But, I've figured out something about the holiday:
to me, it's mostly about making this dark time a little bit lighter: some gifts, some lights, some sugar... that works for me. So I think I've got it handled.

If I can only stay awake...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And the Winner Is... I Mean, Are...

I'm exhausted. And I think I may have found my Chocolate Limit (admittedly huge). The Open Studio was a success, and I'm so grateful to all who came. More on that on the Underground Artists blog tomorrow morning; plus pictures.

I'm so tired that all I'd like to do tonight is post who won the earrings. It's not so simple though. First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented, and tried to comment. (Becky and Carole: I put your names into the hat because I know you tried to comment but had technical difficulties!) I really enjoyed getting comments on my blog; the feedback and conversations really made the blog feel dynamic this week! Thanks.

This morning I wrote that I'd take comments until 5:00 tonight, and then I'd pick the winner. Well, we got so busy towards the end of the Open Studio that I completely forgot to check the blog before I had one of our friends pick a name out of the hat. So that person will receive a pair of earrings. However, when I realized that there were new comments on the blog, I felt I had to honor what I'd written. Yet I didn't feel right putting the first name back in. So I added the new names and called my neighbor (otherwise known as the Best Neighbor in the World). She agreed to let me run over with my faux-leopard-skin-pillbox hat, so that she could pull another name.

So, two winners:
The first winner out of the hat was Sanoma Kellogg!
The second winner, due to my mistake, was Kristen Schwartz!
I'm sending a pair off to Carrie Cahill Mulligan as well: as soon as I got back from my neighbor's house, I realized that I didn't put her name into the hat for one of her comments made earlier today. It seems only right.

I'll figure out how I'm going to choose your earrings and get them to you tomorrow. Right now I'm so tired that my eyes are literally closing. Goodnight and thanks, everyone!

Actual Reception

Today is our third Underground Artists Holiday Open Studio. And today is also the last day of the Virtual Reception. You can comment until 5:00. After that, I'm going to have somebody pull a name out of the hat. I'll post it here later.

I woke up feeling inspired, so that's it for this morning. Even though the studio is sparkling clean and completely straightened up, I've got to run in there this morning and put something together... gotta run!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Claiming the Art





The Midnight Necklace. Make that the 4 am necklace...


What do you think? I have been wanting to do something around the idea of connecting pieces to create more involved necklaces. So this is my first foray... and it was fun. A fun foray. You can see it better if you come by tomorrow. (I tried to model it, but its darn hard to get a good photo of your own neck!)


I spent yesterday making room for my Underground buddies to put their work for tomorrow's Open Studio, and creating spaces for my own. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed the aspect of displaying MY work in MY space. I never thought I had a good handle on display, but I'm learning. I learned alot from the women of Riverside Studios in Truckee; very innovative. Inspired by them, I took a branch that had been part of an old piece I recently took apart, and hung it from the ceiling with my necklaces draped over it. I really like the way it looks. I was thinking of Carole Sesko, who I mentioned yesterday... in her studio space, her art is always out, visible; when you walk in there you really get a sense of who works there, what she's about. It radiates her vision.


I haven't done that in my studio yet. (It's been almost a year in this new space.) Partly because the space is fairly small. (Can I also blame the dust?) But maybe it's mostly that I haven't fully claimed the work as my own. So maybe that's why hanging the earrings and necklaces yesterday felt so satisfying: I get to start inhabiting my space in different way. I think I'm going to leave it out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rearranged, or Deranged?

I had a nice time at 4:00 am, tossing and turning and designing necklaces and making mental notes of changes to the Underground Artist blog...

Good ideas, all. And all written down on the pad next to my bed. Surprisingly legibly, I might add. I even sketched the necklace design in complete darkness, with all the parts in the right place. Hopefully the piece will look as nice as the sketch. In the middle of the night it also occurred to me that I need to mention that this Sunday's Open Studio involves all three Underground Artists (Kristen Schwartz, Barbara Wesson, and myself).

In order for all of us to fit our work into my small studio, I re-arranged earlier this week. Allow me to describe this deranged process to you...it began simply enough:

I had move my comfy chair into the house. But let me be more specific; this involved an ENTIRE day, beginning with: moving the comfy chair out of the studio, taking apart the computer that was on the oak desk, moving the entire studio around to make room for the oak desk (in order to provide a place to put said chair in house), moving the computer into our new "computer room" (aka laundry room), putting the computer back together, and finally moving the chair into the corner just in time to run out the door for Gordie's aikido class. There was extensive dusting and vacuuming involved, and I didn't get to shower before running out the door, but the studio cleaned up nicely and there's more room with this new arrangement.

I heard from my North Shore artist friend, Carole Sesko, yesterday; she's got her second Open Studio scheduled for Saturday, and sounded so excited about her decorations that she actually inspired me to string up some lights, at least. I love her work, and if I've got myself all set for Sunday, I may just head up to Truckee to check it out. If you can't make it, at least take a look at her website if you have time.

I was going to pop another earring shot in here, but for some reason Blogger has decided I can't. Maybe later....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

John Cusack Not Throne Away









I've been going on so much about the earrings lately, it seems I've almost forgotten some of the other work I'm busy with... like necklaces. That's actually how the earrings came about; I started creating necklaces with scrap pieces, and wonder of wonders! if you cut that in half, you've got earrings! It's amazing. Anyway, here's a pic of a necklace I finished today. It's pretty big. I like them bigger; they're like small works of art that you can wear around your neck.




For some reason, I also felt compelled to post some photos of my older work. A "greatest hits" of sorts. MY favorites. Sometimes I get focused on what I'm working on at the moment, and I forget that I've gone off in all these other directions that some day I'd like to re-visit. Anyway, here they are:





"Be In Your Barbie" hangs out in my studio. Her legs wiggle, and I love that. It's a great mood-lifter! If you come by the Open Studio, I'll let you wiggle them.





"Idle Worship" hung on our wall for a looong time, much to my husband's dismay. (He HATES John Cusack; I wonder why? I love him. Hmmm...) I gave John to a friend who really loved the piece (and John). Her name is Stacey, and she's a very brave woman, as well as a talented ceramic artist, who is currently waiting for a liver transplant, so think good thoughts for her.




This last pic is my functional recycled toilet paper roll throne, titled "Not Throne Away". That was raffled off to benefit the local Tahoe library. (Our local library rocks!) It was alot of work, but some day I'll make another one. And keep it.




















Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the Most Boring Post of the Week




I'm so glad you Virtual Reception visitors can't actually SEE my studio. Unless I post photos, which I'm not going to do! I spent yesterday ripping my studio apart, and today I'm going to start putting it back together. It's a good excersise; gives one a fresh start, and it's a good time of year to do it, too... I'm not sure if it'll be an improvement until I actually do some work in there, but the rather large Dust Bunny population has been cut back to a manageable size, and at least I've found a pencil that fell behind the flat file.


This will be my Most Boring Post of the week, and if you can find something to comment on here, you really deserve those earrings! Your name will go directly into the faux-leopard-skin-pillbox hat!




Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Art Reception Online

Today we're kind of continuing with the Art Reception theme...only virtual wine and chocolate don't taste as good, do they?


Well, there's nothing I can do about that. What I am going to do is talk a bit about process...you know, after the introductions and small talk. I know its a bit crowded in here, but grab a truffle and make yourself comfortable...

The thing about talking about my process is that, ultimately, it's like what you did in 5th grade. So it's not really that interesting, is it? We all remember it: wheat paste everywhere, in your ears, your hair... your best friend made that turtle with pink HAIR, it had braids made out of pink yarn, for pete's sake, and every time you looked at the thing you laughed so hard you had tears in your eyes. (At least I did. And I still cannot look at that thing -yes, she still has it! - without the same reaction.)




Of course, MY project was what I considered a masterpiece of recycling. A simple, functional piggy bank made from a plastic milk jug and toilet paper rolls for the legs. Beautiful!


But I digress....alot....


So, yes, ultimately it's the same piggy bank process: layering paper using some sort of glue. The difference is that in the intervening years, I've gone to art school, and worked as a designer, and had kids, and made alot of art... and even figured some things out. (Like, I don't use wheat paste, but I do still get glue in my ears, my hair, etc.)


So (geez, she is going on FOREVER. Is there a POINT?) I do use the lamination process. I use recycled newspapers for the majority of the 5 to 8 layers that I typically do, depending on what the end product is going to be. I use other papers as outside layers to provide a textured finish. The glue is plain white PVA glue. Before painting, I gesso all surfaces with two coats. I finish up with layers of acrylic color, and seal it with acrylic varnish for water-resistance.


The difference between my work and alot of other papier mache artists that I've seen online is that they are working with pulp and molds, and their end product tends to be figurative: people , animals, etc. I've worked with pulp, and may do so again, but for now I'm really enjoying the color and design aspect of what I'm doing. And as I'm trained as a designer, it seems to fit. So I avoid calling myself simply a papier mache artist because I don't fit into that mold. (was that a pun?)


I'm betting your ready for a refill on that wine about now...

Monday, December 10, 2007

There's Something Fuzzy...

on the Underground Artists' blog.
See photos of the mysterious Walter and other friends at Kristen's Open Studio/Holiday Sale by clicking here.

Welcome to the Virtual Reception


Suppose you really really REALLY wanted to come to one of our holiday sales, but for whatever reason (broken leg while skydiving? live 2,000 miles away? stuck in parking lot traffic jam while holiday shopping?) you just couldn't make it... what then?


You're invited to take part in my Virtual Reception. The VR will be held this week, starting today and going through this coming Sunday, December 16th. Here's the basic (borrowed!) premise:



I post on my blog.

You comment on my blog.

For every day you comment on a blog post, I will enter you name into a drawing for a pair of my recycled paper art earrings (I will substitute a necklace if you don't have pierced ears!).

Sunday afternoon, during the Open Studio, I'll draw one name out of a hat (or Art Helmet!).

I'll post the name of the winner here on Sunday evening.

Check back here to see if you've won!

(if you comment more than once on a particular post, you're still entered only once; if you comment on different post (even if it's on the same day ie: if I feel inspired and post more than once on a particular day... it happens...), you are entered again.)

(does that make sense?)


IT'S EASY TO POST COMMENTS!

Here's how:

1) at the bottom of each post, there's a link that says how many comments have been posted (it's usually 0! we're trying to remedy that!) Click on that link.

2) A pop up window will pop up. There will be a box for typing in your insightful and fascinating comment. Type comment.

3) Underneath that, there is a place to type in your Google Username and Password. YOU MUST REGISTER WITH GOOGLE TO COMMENT ON MY BLOG (I did this because I believe it keeps out spam-type comments). And it's easy.

To register with Google:
Click where it says: "No Google account? Sign up here". You will be asked to enter your email address, a password and a display name. The display name is what people will see when you leave your comment. After you are registered:

5) Leave your comment (if you haven't already). Click "publish your comment".

6) Win earrings.


So, here's the first post. I'm looking forward to see what you have to say!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Elf Yourself

On a completely un-art-related note:
This takes a while to do, but it's so totally worth it! My kids and I laughed ourselves silly every time we watched it. And we watched it alot.

Go to http://www.elfyourself.com

If this doesn't make you laugh, you may need to have your funny bone examined.

Open Studios Continue



Life is good. It's been a long and interesting week, and tomorrow is the second event in the Underground Artists Holiday Open Studios. I've been working on more earrings; my new favorite pair is pictured below. I'm focusing on earrings and necklaces, as they make great gifts. I'll also have some older pieces at sale prices.


I'm looking forward to the mulled wine and DESSERTS at Kristen's house. The fact that it finally snowed shouldn't be a problem, though it is cold...23 degrees at the moment!

But if you'd rather stay inside by your cozy woodstove, there's always the Virtual Reception. I'll be hosting that next week, right here. I'll be giving away a pair of earrings. Details on Monday!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Art Display, the Low Tech Way


Hardware cloth: the low-tech way to display your art!


I used hardware cloth this summer when I put together some standing panels to use at the TAP show. It's very rough-looking, but with the recycled nature of my work, I think it's good fit. (never liked those cloth-covered panels; always reminds me of my former life as a graphic designer, or like I'm in an office cubicle somewhere...searching for the cheese....)


The women of Riverside Studios have a knack for displaying their work. And one thing that caught my eye was, yes, a piece of hardware cloth hanging on the wall: an earring display!
How clever is that? So, I did what any self-respecting artist would do: I stole the idea.


I like the industrial feel of it... and as my art leans towards the charmingly imperfect, I think it's better than showing my work on a more "polished" surface...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We Have the Technology

Just a quick post to let you know that I took the big credit card leap! We now have the technology to process credit card payments. So whether you come by one of our Holiday Open Studios this month, or find me at a show somewhere, you can now use your credit card. The company that I went through for this is called Propay, and it's very easy to set up an account with them. Their prices seem very reasonable!

When the new year rolls around I plan on making some changes to the website; it'll be more like a gallery, with more new work featured. If you'd like to purchase work that you've seen on the site, I should be able to take your info over the phone, and process your card that way, but I'll have to look into that more...

In the meantime, if you buy something from my Etsy shop, you can still pay by credit card. Using Paypal, you will be able to select the credit card option, so you don't need a Paypal account. Very easy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

There Are No Words


Okay, well, there's a few. But I can't really think of any good ones that don't sound trite.
xxx

Our first Holiday Open Studio at Barbara's was yesterday. Good food, good friends (see? trite.) Wonderful people who wanted to come see us and pick out fun handmade gifts for their loved ones. All three of us Undergrounders had an amazing experience. My thanks to everyone who showed up! You made it happen (trite! I know!).
xxx
Everything I do with the Underground Artists turns out to be more than it seems. Each experience brings out some issue I have, or somebody has, and it feels BIG. The dynamic of being part of a group is very powerful. I highly recommend this sort of "group therapy" to any artists out there, especially women who have been mothers and as a result have a somewhat skewed idea of our worth...and what our time is worth.
xxx
I saw a very funny print ad today, for Absolut Vodka. It's a husband and wife standing together in their living room. The woman is slim and smiling, glass of vodka (presumably Absolut) in her hand. Her husband is standing besider her, looking a bit rumpled, with a huge pregnant belly...ha!
can you picture it?
But I digress.
xxx
As moms, we're used to working literally 24/7, with no pay. (I laugh when my husband comes home and complains about his job...(I think: "YOU'RE GETTING PAID FOR IT... how bad can it really be?") And really, my mom job is great. I'm not whining. It's just that we're used to our time being worth "nothing": no money. So to get back into this art thing, this business part of it, we really have to change our thinking about what our time is worth. What WE are worth.
xxx
Just an aside: Why does Google's Blogger do away with the spaces in between my paragraphs? And where do they go? Does some other blogger get them...loads of space between her paragraphs? Anyone know the answer to this? I am forced to resort to creative measures to make it look like there's a space in between them. Like so:
xxx
And speaking of answers: the question I asked in my last post, about the ridiculously irrelevant tag in my hat...my husband figured it out. He held it up to the light: it had a microchip in it, to guard against stealing. Luckily it didn't guard against "shoulder shopping".

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Absurdity and Balance



I put on a hat this morning, to go load up my car for the Open Studio at B.'s house...I've never worn this hat before; my husband finds alot of things by the side of the road (at Caltrans they call it "shoulder shopping") and he'd found this GAP hat. I put on the hat. I took off the hat, because there's an itchy label inside. It says (I am not making this up) "REMOVE BEFORE WASHING OR WEARING". That's all. What is the purpose of this tag? I ask you.


Anyway, the car is loaded up with the boxes, and I'm ready to go. Just a quick post first...

with some pics of the earrings I finished up last night. I had a great helper... my younger son was hanging out with me, happily popping every single bubble on a piece of bubble wrap, but was available for consultations when needed. I trust his taste. And I was really grateful that he was there with me. I've been feeling that I'm not spending enough time with my kids. It's such a hard balance!


Okay, must run....

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bougles

When I first moved to Tahoe, in 1987, I drove around in a borrowed gold Ford Pinto, with the words "eat me" written in shaving cream and congealed above the driver's side door (for reasons unrelated to me, and which I won't bother explaining). The point, however, is that I have not been able to sleep these last few nights, and these are the kind of thoughts which pass through my brain at 4:00 am.

The other thing that has been going through my brain are loads of inspired ideas that hopefully I won't be too tired to act on. I keep a pad by my bed, and scribble thoughts in the dark:

"necklaces (this is somehow underlined, which is hard to do accurately in the dark) cut pc of HC and hang off cool stick hang on wall"

and under that it says:

"bougles? purple beady thing"

??

I'm sure it has it's merits, but I have absolutely no idea what I meant by that. Anyone?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Colorforms


Anybody remember Colorforms? This part of the process reminds me of playing with Colorforms as a kid. Only I played with them recently, and this is actually more fun! It's down to the wire for our first Underground Artist Holiday Sale/Open Studio affair this weekend, so I'll make this brief. But I also wanted to mention that I'm going to borrow a page from Carrie Cahill Mulligan's blog and host a Virtual Open Studio on the date of my actual Open Studio. (Carrie makes beautiful hats!) Stay tuned for more information.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

UA Shows

It's been a long week, and between the holiday and not feeling too "yippy-skippy" (I'll spare you the details!) I haven't written all week. But I'm back on my feet, and looming large on the horizon is...



our Underground Artists Holiday Open Studios (or "Triple Holiday Sale", depending on whom you talk to...). We're hosting a series of holiday events, for three Sundays in December: December 2, December 9, and December 16, from 1 to 6 pm. All three of us: Barbara Wesson (pottery; pictured at left sporting an art helmet), Kristen Schwartz (fantastical illustrations) and, of course, Yours Truly will be at each date. Our intention is to feed you lots of sugary items, or at least some wine or appetizers, and entice you to purchase various wonderful handmade gifts for your friends and family. Or, if you're like me, for yourself. If you live in the Tahoe area, or plan to be in the area then, please email me for more information.



I recently sent out a mailing and included a link to this blog... If anyone reading this is new to the blog, it's EASY TO COMMENT. Really. Just click on the comment link and register with Google if you haven't already. (Google is going to take over the world, so you might as well just go ahead and register with them now. Go ahead, get it over with.)



I tried to create an avatar (isn't that a great word?) for my Etsy shop yesterday. Yes, I should have been creating things for the first Open Studio this weekend. Why wasn't I? Well, I, um... I was also adding a couple of pieces to the Etsy shop at the time, and my little "avatar space" was looking rather bare and depressingly empty. So I thought, "how hard can it be?" And then I found out: impossible. At least for me. But I had alot of fun taking photos of myself, using a mirror to see what the camera screen was showing... This is the one I liked, but couldn't get it to work. That is why, if you go to my Etsy shop, you will see a BIG BLACK SQUARE where the avatar should be. I'll try again someday... but not now. NOW, I have to get back into the studio and make some more pieces for this weekend.




Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ode to a Brush


I've made this mistake before...
...
I was working when I shouldn't have been: tired, not feeling well, and working to finish some earrings in time to bring them into one of my shops on my trip to Reno.
.....
That's when disaster struck. Okay, a small disaster, but when you're tired, it seems bigger, and it seems like you're a big idiot (I mean, like I'M a big idiot). I left my favorite brush sitting out, with paint on it, while I ran into the house, probably interrupted by my seven year old son. (That's his specialty: interrupting me.) And by the time I got back out to the studio, it was too late....hard paint; useless brush. ARGH. I loved this brush! It was the perfect size for so many things. And it had that little angle to it, and felt great in my hand... it was the one I grabbed first.
.....
It's okay; I'm over it. But I bought this brush at Michael's, a couple of years ago. And my New Year's resolution was to never set foot in Michael's again...that "soul-destroying" place, as it's been described by a friend. So I guess I'll have to find a similar one elsewhere...
....
The new earrings got done anyway. They're going to ClayNichol's today, on my way to Thanksgiving at my father's "lady friend's" house... (another dad euphamism). I'm so grateful that I'm off the hook for cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Love to eat it, but it's just the silliest holiday, isn't it? We all have to eat the same thing on the same day? It's ridiculous. And every year, I swear it's going to be peanut butter & jelly for dinner that day, and every year, I end up doing the whole t'day thing... but thanks to M., who's a fabulous cook, I get to just enjoy the eating part. Thanks, M.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Once A Designer...

You know what I'm going to say:
"always a designer...".

This was made painfully clear to me yesterday when we put up some shelves in our "utility" room... It made more sense to push them all the way over towards the door, leaving room on one end to hang the clean laundry. But there were some existing shelves on the wall above the new shelving units, and I wanted them to LINE UP. They HAD to line up. I would not have slept that night if this did not happen.

sigh.

Once again, my expensive graphic design education rears its head.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fighting "Brain Spiral"

The Underground Artists saved the day, once again.


How did I ever get anywhere without this group? The answer is, I didn't. At least, I didn't move forward very quickly. I spent alot of time going around in circles, as I remember... sometimes even spiraling downward into my own tangle of negative thoughts. (how poetic!) But it's true.


This past week I had to put in alot of computer time: domain name changes, email changes, website stuff, mailing list, etc... Plus, I was alone; my husband took the kids on a short vacation, and I opted to stay home to get some work done. I LOVE being alone, but after a few days, I can get to the point where it's NOT good because I'm thinking too much. By the time our UA meeting came up, I had been to that point, and beyond.

Turns out, we'd all been in a similar place, mentally. This happens alot. Then we all talk it over, eat some chocolate, and Voila! Sane artists! Well, not really. Ha ha! But it's a close facsimile, and we end up way, way more comfortable with what's going on than we were before. One might even say we're feeling inspired to keep going, in a more or less straight line, rather than back around again, in those circles I mentioned before.

What a relief.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Etsy Shop & the Paper Moon Domain Name Saga


First of all...
The Etsy shop is UP AND RUNNING!

Please check it out here.

I'm starting out with the new jewelry, earrings and necklaces. I'll be adding to it as I go along, so please check back to see what's new. You can also go to it by typing in "melgregory.etsy.com" in your browser.
In order to come up with that Etsy shop user name (also the url), I went through a loooong process... "Papermoon" was taken (no surprise). And I couldn't bring myself to use "papermoonarts" one more time, since I've started to really, really dislike it. So I started thinking (that's where the trouble started) and decided to go with the user name "papermoonstudio". (I didn't see it among the etsy shop user names.) "Yay!" I thought. "Wonderful!" I even decided to get the domain name from goDaddy.com because I liked it SO MUCH BETTER. than "papermoonarts". As it turns out, that user name WAS taken (by a buyer). But that's okay. I like my new domain name:

It took many calls to my cousin (who is kind and patient and does my website) and to goDaddy.com (whose customer service is awesome, and their tech guys all sound cute on the phone...one imagines them all looking like James McAvoy) but the new domain is now in place. Now I'm thinking about changing this blog url to match something, ANYTHING...but I'm not sure how that affects the traffic to the blog.
As for the unrelated photo above: we've had these really cold nights, and on my way out to the studio yesterday morning I noticed the sun shining on these frosted leaves...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gesso Love


Today I fell in love with black gesso.

It's true.

It goes on so easy, covers so well... and it's going on the back of the new work, so I'm not concerned about fading. I never planned to fall in love. But I started some new forms this week, to be used specifically for the earrings. (Except some of them looked distinctly like candy dishes, so I'm going to let one of them go ahead...) After I'd already gessoed the forms with white, I thought I'd do the inside (what will be the backs) with black. I'll only have to paint the front of the jewelry pieces this way, and nobody sees the backs anyway (unless they're standing very, very close to you and staring at the back of your ears... and that would be creepy).


When I was done, I loved the way the black looked. LOVED it. The forms are so graphic. (once a graphic designer, always a graphic designer...) I think I could go off on some different directions here, but for now I'm going to focus on the earrings and necklaces (okay, and the candy dish) because my Underground Arty friends and I are going to be doing some holiday Open Studio dates very soon. (I'll post dates here shortly.)


I'm also in love with my new bike. It's so pristine! I can't imagine taking it out and getting it dirty, but it IS a mountain bike, so I guess there's nothing for it but to get on it and ride! Maybe tomorrow. My kids are still off with my husband, riding their bikes in the bay area. (There's tons of trails here, but he's on "vacation" (between the seasonal jobs) and I guess he feels like he has to go somewhere...whatever). That leaves me alone to work in blissful, uninterrupted quiet, and do things like eat cookies for breakfast. Not that I would. I'm just saying.




Sunday, November 11, 2007

User Name, Schmoozer Name


This is what it looked like outside my studio this morning...
I said I'd have the Etsy store up and running this weekend, and I'm almost there. What's hanging me up is the stupid user name. (I'm going to go into a rant here...just a head's up!) Technically, my business name is Paper Moon, which is all well and good, except that it's EVERYBODY'S business name, it seems. So when I registered a domain name, it couldn't be just "papermoon.com". It had to be "mypapermoon" or something equally as ridiculous. Which is why I ended up with papermoonarts.com. Now everyone thinks THAT is the name of my business, which makes it sound like I'm an art supply store. I'm beginning to regret my choices, and to compound it, I've called this blog something COMPLETELY different. Which I like. Which is unique. Which I could use as my business name, if I wanted to change it (again; I've already changed it once!).
The reason I am telling you all this is because tonight, HOURS ago, when I typed in "papermoon" as my Etsy user name, it was taken. OF COURSE it was taken. In fact, there are 6 other shops with the words "paper moon" in them. NONE of them make anything out of paper, but this doesn't seem to be a prerequisite for using the name.
Anyhoo, I've sat here for a loooong time, trying to decide what to do about the Etsy user name:
Do I call it "Papermoonarts", and just live with it?
Do I call it "Unglued", yet keep my unoriginal and completely unrelated business name?
Do I go with "Unglued", but consider changing my business name, url, etc. in the future?
And what about...(gasp!) Naomi?
(C'mon; didn't anyone watch ZOOM when you were a kid?)

Giant Insects Save the World

In keeping with the theme of absurdity, but moving ahead to the grander idea of how art can save the world...

Check out this link to the giant insects that were masterfully created by sculptor Patrick E. in a brilliant attempt to keep the peace between some neighbors in the San Francisco bay area. Click on the close-up image of the blue butterfly to get a better look. You can also click back to the original article... and it's great.

I have a Brian Andreas piece in my studio, a "Storypeople" piece. It says,

"In my dream, the angel shrugged & said, If we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination
& then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand."

No failure of imagination here...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Absurdity

I saw a person riding a unicycle down the street today, as in "using it for transportation", and it made my day.

Is this not a ridiculous way to get around? But this person saw some value in it, and took the time to figure out how to sit atop a single moving wheel. I love this person. It gives me hope. More absurdity, I say!

Stormy Weather




This is what it looked like outside my studio yesterday. A storm blew in, and I watched it come; watched the sky darken and start to thunder and rain. Gordie sat out there with me for a little while, and we listened to Harry Potter on CD. It felt relaxing. That is, until I realized I had to hurry up and finish the earrings, get them packed up, and get Gordie to his haircut on time...then, not so relaxing. But it all got done.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Earrings on Etsy

Thank god for my iPod...I can actually sit here and write while my 7 year old watches TV (my concession to be able to work in the mornings!) Blues Traveler... The song, "Run Around" actually got me to RUN UPHILL one time, on one of my walks up the old Meyers Grade.

It's been pointed out to me by a good friend that it would help to list the length of the earrings, along with the photos. I've got some more earrings and necklaces coming... I'm going to open an Etsy shop this weekend, so that might be the easiest way to showcase these, and add measurements. Please check back if you're interested, and I'll let you know when the shop is up and running!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Papier Mache Links

Just for giggles, and since I have to be at Norm's (Subaru repair folks) all morning, here's a couple of papier mache links for you:

bicycles complete with papier mache bicyclists!

Giant papier mache heads! (featuring George Bush)

Oh, the fun never ends...

then there's this, courtesy of Alyson Stanfield's blog...
not papier mache, but FUN!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Old Brushes

To return to a more philosophical bent, I was just in the studio and picked up a favorite brush to add some color to a piece. I noticed when I touched the bristles that there's barely any life left in it; it's used up. Only the ends of the bristles have any flexibility left; probably a result of the rough surfaces I paint on, and my bad brush-cleaning habits (I confess!).

I was reminded of my mother, Trudy Lanitis, which doesn't happen very often. She was an artist too, and "upon her demise" (my 82-year-old father's favorite euphamism for death) I inherited a huge amount of brushes that belonged to her. Most of them were so used up that I threw them out; I saved a few for a shrine that has yet to be made. But I never understood why she kept so many useless brushes.

Today, I found out. Because I used that old favorite brush of mine anyway. It's comfortable, and I know what it's going to do with the paint. It still does the job. Think I'll go clean it.

Recycled and Handmade in Tahoe







I just realized that I've never posted photos of my necklaces...

Or, I did, and I've forgotten.

No matter!

I'm posting some today. In keeping with the jewelry theme.
These are just a few of the designs. All are extremely lightweight, and have two layers of varnish for protection. Although some pieces have similar colors or beads, every piece is one-of-a-kind, and as my friend Becky from TAMC pointed out, "Made in Tahoe". That's right. Jewelry with altitude, as well as attitude.
All of this jewelry is available through me, and the shops listed in the sidebar on the right have some as well.




Sunday, November 4, 2007

Give the Gift of Paper...Recycled Paper Earrings!




They won't match your "en vogue" Art Helmet, but I have a new batch of arty earrings, with more to come....

These earrings are made from 50% recycled paper, using papier mache methods, and feature Swarovski crystal beads and gold-filled ear wires. You can contact me at mel@papermoonarts.com for more information or to purchase. I'm going to be making more and posting photos as I go along, but will also be selling them through local shops. Colors and beads will vary.

I am still considering selling these through an Etsy store, just haven't had time to check into it!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Jewelry Quandary

Yesterday I went to pick up my work from Riverside Studios (from last month's show). I didn't get any new work done for their November show, but I did sell a few things during October, and brought in some new earrings. I also got a call from North Tahoe Arts, and I may have a chance to get some of my jewely juried into their shop as well. The artists up on North Shore are so great; very open and welcoming to other artists.

I'm still at work on the new earrings, and wondering how to make the findings on the necklaces and earrings match. I've been using silver toggle clasps from the Karen Hill tribe on the necklaces; the gold-plated clasps look tacky, and the actual gold is very expensive. But on the earrings, I've used gold-filled wires, because much of my work has some gold trim. Here's the problem: I want them to to look consistant.

One possibility is to use surgical steel for the earring wires; that would be similar to the Karen Hill silver. But there's still the gold paint that I love to use on just about everything. Or I could go with gold all the way around, and charge more for the necklaces. But the whole point of the jewelry was to be able to sell work with a lower price point!

Thoughts to ponder while I work today...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lizland

Forget Graceland...

I got to visit Lizland this weekend!


I've talked about Liz Mamorsky in previous posts; she's a tiny woman with a huge vision and an even bigger collection of stuff that she uses to create anthropomorphic sculptures, along with gigantic canvases full of wild images and bright colors. Her current work is small, on amate bark with colored pencils. I got to see all of it, and you can too if you visit her site.


One of the things I got from my pilgrimage is that inspiration can come from anyplace. Liz collects everything from plastic toys to antique pinball parts; it reminded me that the things I find and save have value to me, and that's where to start: found wire that's bent in weird shapes, and old fence boards, and the occasional piece of globby dried paint... all things I can use in some capacity, no matter how trivial they seem. It also seems like an all or nothing affair: either you keep it all, or none of it matters. I don't know why that is. You either keep the piles of "treasures", or you toss out all the "junk"...


Fortunately for her, she's also extremely organized...


Friday, October 26, 2007

Alien Eyeballs




How would you feel about "alieneyeballs@xyz.com" as a personal email address?

Well, I liked it too, but my seven year old son, who suggested it, was outvoted...


But cheer up! I've used it here to describe the piece that happened in my studio this morning, while I was trying to create some fall-type pieces for a show entitled (oddly) "Falling". The leafy-themed piece never got done, but I had alot of fun messing around with this piece... It's got a resin base, with a wire that makes it kind of bouncy (always a plus!). The top is papier mache with a recycled silk yarn from Nepal. And, of course, alien eyeballs.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Little Things


It's the little things, really it is. I received my order from Artbeads.com, which they always wrap in a little piece of purple tissue paper. For some reason, that little piece of purple tissue makes the order seem special and important... although Luann Udell once mentioned ordering from a company that includes a Tootsie Roll with each order...

Hmm....

Anyway, I received the Swarovski crystal beads for the new batch of earrings, and they're so gorgeous, I just wanted to include a photo here. I'll be working on those in the coming weeks. I'm thinking of trying out an Etsy shop as an outlet for my earrings and necklaces.... I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on Etsy if anybody cares to comment!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Know, I Know, It's Getting Ridiculous

For those minions who read this blog regularly, YES, I changed it yet again. I woke up at 4 am and the "width" issue was bugging me. And the only way I could see to get back to the original layout was to start from scratch. In the process, I moved a few things around, changed a few colors...

I would appreciate any feedback on readability, etc. because I've looked at it so much, I almost can't tell anymore.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Need Blogger Help!

Can anybody out there tell me why my Blogger layout is so wide?
I think it started out narrower, like the original template. But now it's FAT. Too fat.
I want it to have that slender look...
I checked my screen resolution; it's at the highest setting. And it seems like it would be a "formatting" issue, but I can't find anything!
Any suggestions?

Artisan Shop Adventures

Sometimes, on my way to write a post, I check out the blogs that the Blogger staff finds interesting. Today I clicked on Bonobo Handshake, because I wondered what the title meant. And I found out. I'm not going to reveal it here, you'll have to visit the site.

It has NOTHING to do with art, of course, but art and life are one, right? And inspiration can be found anywhere. So we have to look.

Anyway, I worked my first day at the Artisan Shop yesterday. My workday started like this:

I put in the correct code to retrieve the front door key; so far so good. The key doesn't turn in the lock. Damn! Okay, redo code and try other key. Of course it's not the other key...says so right here on my notes: "plain key"... I redo code again to retrieve the correct key; this time it works, after much fumbling. I now have 30 seconds to type in the alarm code so the alarm doesn't go off. Okay, piece of cake....just type in the code: XXXX ... oh no! where's the OFF button? WHERE'S THE OFF BUTTON!? .... OMIGOD that's a loud sound! And look! Here's the off button right here, in the most unbelievably obvious spot! Fabulous. Only a mild heart attack, and already I'm inside!

Where'd I put the front door key? THE KEY! I had it, I opened the door, didn't I? Search of pockets ensues. (Three times, last time quite frantically.) Search of purse follows...no key. Okay, no matter. I'll just start my day and the key will turn up later. Get that tall flag that goes out front...watch it! Don't hit any of the original artwork on the walls with end of pole...oops! that was close. So, flag in place, and back inside... See, there's the key! I knew it would turn up! Right in the keyhole....

By this time I am feeling a bit of an idiot. But I know that I'm not, so when one of the other artists calls to check on me, I don't even tell her about the alarm going off. But then I do. I tell her, but I don't tell her about the key...until later, when she actually comes in, bless her, to make sure I'm doing okay. She's very nice, and has been a part of North Tahoe Arts since it started about 15 years ago. And everything is great, even though she has a little dog. (I'm not a "little dog" fan. I prefer my dogs BIG. A BIG dog is a real dog....) anyway, I'm okay with the little dog, because she seems to love it so much. Until....this is so gross I can almost not write it, but you have to know...she picks off a bit of it's "eye goo" and, ugh....feeds it to the dog!!! Is it me, or is this incredibly disgusting? I felt nauseous. I feel nauseous right now, just thinking about it. I'm sorry if I ruined your day. Anyway, that's not my point. She was a very nice woman and I appreciated her coming by. Except for that bit.

Then there was Hockey Man, late in the day. I was getting really sleepy by this time, because I haven't been sleeping well. Luckily for me, Hockey Man walked in. I didn't know he was Hockey Man, even though he had on a hockey jersey. But I said, "Hi, how are you?" and he said, "I'm 66, I play hockey, and I'm GREAT!" Which impressed me to a large degree, because I recently started mountain biking, I'm alot less than 66, and when I fall I sometimes land on sage or small shrubs, which is a lot softer than ice. Anyway, we proceeded to have this long discussion about art and the upshot of it was this: when one is truly being creative and pushing one's envelope, it's always going to be a bit uncomfortable. I found that comforting.

The giant pumpkin cookie (with chocolate chips) that I got from Tahoe House Bakery was comforting too, and the day ended uneventfully. I suppose it helped that I was able to lock up without setting off the alarm again.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Don't Ride Your Bike in a Boa

The boa was not enough.

I tried wearing my boa on Thursday, but apparently, it was more than a One Boa day...
maybe the boa and a miniskirt? Because the one boa did nothing for my attitude. And after all week in the house with sick kids, I sure needed an attitude adjustment... Except now I'm feeling a bit under the weather myself. Tomorrow is my first day to work at the North Tahoe Artisans Shop, so I may be pulling out the boa again, and wearing it with something outlandish. Or maybe I'll go in my pj's and fuzzy slippers: comfort clothes.

Since I just re-watched "The Secret" this week, I've been thinking alot about my thinking. In my mountain biking class yesterday, I realized how easy it was to move through and around obstacles, or go over some small bridges that we encountered, by, as Ted told us, keeping your line of sight focused way ahead. I was so amazed at how well this worked for me. I made it over and through things that, before this class, would have caused me to panic and run right into the very thing I wanted to avoid.

In terms of art and life, this translates into keeping one's sights on the long-term goals, and not getting tripped up by focusing on any immediate obstacles. If we focus down the trail, instead of on the narrow, rickety bridge, we'll find ourselves at our destination, rather than landing in the drink, entangled in a boa.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moonshine Ink Link

Sara Zimmerman, an artist and friend who works for Moonshine Ink (a great community newspaper in Truckee, CA) told me awhile back that I was going to be included in an upcoming issue. The new issue is out, and here's the link:
http://www.moonshineink.com/

Carole Sesko's article on confidence and fear in the process of making art is here. Thanks, Carole, for some great advice.

Mirrored Heart, Happy Feet


A while back I posted a photo of this heart I was working on. It's one of those pieces that I go back to every once in a while, and never seem to finish. Since the last photo, I added bits of broken mirror (this is the back view). I like the look but hate the process, and don't know if I'll finish it. It's changed so much from my original sketches...My mistake was in only doing one. I'd like to start over and make a few of the forms, then be able to make different choices for each. I think these could be cool. Originally, they were going to hang, but I did some wire stands for my helmets, and I think these could also be displayed that way.


This week was focused on taking care of my thirteen year old; he has a cold with a very tenacious cough... it kept me up all night, for the last few nights; and with little sleep, I didn't have much creative energy. So, with apologies, here's another photo of my happy, happy feet as they sit perched on our new (to us) ottoman that goes with the comfy chair, that goes with the couch, that goes so much better with the rest of our house!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Hair and Big Helmets

I need an editor. Or, I really need to read my previous posts before I start writing. I repeat myself alot. My kids and I started watching "The Secret" again last night, and if it's really all about our thoughts and feelings, then I'm not going anywhere until I stop cycling through the same thoughts over and over, and start down a new thought path...

We did alot of "watching" yesterday because my oldest son is sick... and so we also watched "Labyrinth", which I somehow managed never to see in the 80's. It was recommended to me by my friend Shelley Hocknell, who insisted (in a nice way) I see it; she says my helmet series reminded her of the costumes.

Lots of BIG 80's hair, and lots of really cool helmets. Brian Froud was the designer, and I loved seeing his sketches in the "making of" feature on the DVD... That's one very cool thing about art: inspiration comes from so many different places, sometimes places you'd never expect. I don't consider myself inspired by fantasy art, but I do love his work, and there is a part of me that loves costumes (even though Halloween isn't my favorite holiday). I believe we all dress just a tad on the boring side, and should be costumed on a daily basis. Life would be much more interesting if we were brave enough to wear tiaras or boas to the grocery store, at the very least. (When I had my Harley, years ago before everyone and their grandmother had one, I used to love walking into Raley's in my leathers. People looked at me VERY differently.) But if we ALL felt free to dress up whenever we wanted... okay, it would be wierd. Maybe not "dress up" but be more creative in our clothing choices. (I feel a rant against Old Navy coming on.)

But I've got to go now...so, when you get dressed today, make some cool clothing choices. Even if you're sitting around the house. Do it in your boa. You'll have a totally different experience of the day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't Give Up

This morning I ordered beads for a new batch of the earrings. (I'll be posting photos of those when done...). I had a whole internal struggle while the mouse rested over the "submit order" button...it went something like this (I"ll paraphrase): "Do I really want to be making earrings? Is this REALLY what I'm supposed to be doing with my life?"

So, I'm still in that place of struggle, but now it's feeling more familiar, and I'm not totally freaking out about it. I'm realizing that, since I've really committed to making art, I'm going to do it. I'm not sure what the outcome will be, but that's not a bad thing, as long as I just keep working.

I'm also realizing how very normal these feelings of doubt are; after all, I've been out of the work force and haven't earned an income for over a dozen years, I've been focused on raising kids (even though I never stopped making art) and I'm unsure of myself as a result.

It's an uncomfortable feeling, but to me it means that I've reached a certain point. In the past, I might have just walked away ...so, yay, me. I'm not giving up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Artist Mom


Besides being an artist, I'm also a full-time mom to two boys. We homeschool (more specifically, "unschool") and some days I just don't make it into the studio, even during my "studio hours". Yesterday both boys got sick, and I was busy trying to move the exceedingly ugly couches we've lived with for the last year OUT of my house, to make room for something newer and less esteem-destroying...

So here's a photo of my feet; it's the most creative thing I've managed so far this week...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Uphill Art



AAARRRGGGHHH!

I guess I'm back at that point where I go into the studio to begin working again, and nothing works. It's a clumsy, uncomfortable time, but it's beginning to feel familiar. Which is actually good, because it means I'm working more and more. It's okay. I'll get back into the swing of things. It's like in my mountain biking class: it's that steady, difficult uphill part during which I am cursing my otherwise very likeable teacher, and myself, for being foolish enough to think this would be fun...and then, then! I get to the top of the hill, and there's a slight downhill and I can shift into third, and start to cruise...and all of a sudden, hey! this is fun! this is great! I take back all those horrible thoughts of violence I had only moments earlier!

Haha!

Here are some photos of the mayhem that is currently ensuing in my workspace...I didn't get much work done, but I had alot of fun with the camera, giggling to myself in one could almost say a maniacal way.

coming unglued

OH my GOD.
I'm so glad I'm not a designer anymore... I've spent way too much time on the look of this blog, and that's with an existing template; all I'm doing is changing colors and font sizes. I think I'm done though. I'd better be, or I'll really be coming unglued. Haha!

(An unrelated aside, and a testament to the power of the internet for time-wasting: "haha" was a word used to describe a sunken fence found in rural England during Jane Austen's time...it was called a "haha" because, apparently, when people came upon these, one assumes somewhat unexpectedly, it made them laugh. "Ha ha!" See?)

Okay, so back to the subject at hand, which was...um...well, moving on then! I'm obviously NOT in the studio working; I'm in that wierd down-time between shows, events, or what-have-yous. Truthfully, I'm in major house-cleaning mode, as in divesting myself of anything less than beautiful, unless of course it belongs to my husband (who still likes to bring up the time I threw out an old pair of boots - I swear I didn't know they were his, as we were living in an old cabin that came "furnished" - and that had been inhabited by mice in the not-so-distant past) OR if they are rocks that are owned by my two sons. I am not allowed to throw those out. But, everything else is coming under careful scrutiny. I feel better already. Ha ha!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's NOT Like What You Did in Kindergarten

I'm determined. I'm determined to make this blog into something that feels like me; feels "right" and says what it means. And describes and presents itself as such. So I've (yet again) changed the color: I'm decidedly NOT an orange person, and the color was beginning to get old. I'm working on a new blog title and description, and I know it doesn't have to be earth-shattering, just show up on the radar, but I'm looking for the clever thing, and it's not appearing yet. No boring blog titles here...Art Notebook; egads! What was I thinking! Of course, I'd read something about having the "right" words in the title, etc etc...

So the blog is still evolving, as am I. And after a recent comment by Luann Udell (if you haven't checked out her blog and site yet, do so NOW), I've determined that I'm ready to stop being evasive about the papier mache. I'm an ARTIST, dammit. It doesn't matter what medium I use, and the fact that I create in paper does not discount my vision. Do I sound defensive? Oops. I'm not, really. But I am tired of hearing people say, "oh, like we did in grade school!" It's bloody well NOT the same thing! (I'm learning to swear like a Brit.) That's like saying that a Picasso is like something you did in kindergarten with your tempera paints. With the nose in a wierd place.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hallows Eve Art Helmets




Okay, so, the Art Helmet series is now actually a series...

The Hallow's Eve Helmets include the "Grand Poo-Bah", "Mini Poo-Bah" and "Candy Corn Conehead". All are meant to be slightly silly, while conveying an air of exalted ridiculousness.

The "Grand Poo-Bah" is the first of the series. I added some epoxy resin along the bottom edge, which did away with the flexibility of the papier mache. So it doesn't actually fit on anyone's head (nobody on THIS planet).


The "Mini Poo-Bah" is a shortish roundish helmet, and fits nicely. This was directly inspired by my bowls that everyone loves to wear so much, so it's actually bowl-shaped. With bells.


The "Conehead" also fits splendidly...with the added bonus of some cool beaded fringe along the front. Depending on the circumference of your head, the fringe might be in your eyes; just adds to the silliness levels...
They can be seen (and purchased!) at Riverside Studios in Truckee through the month of October!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Form vs. Function




Feels like a good time for a nap... still fighting off that cold. But I haven't posted in awhile, so here's something I wrote a few weeks back:

I just realized something....
I like functional objects, and functional art, but NOT necessarily for their functionality.
I like them for their forms, color, design.

I may never even use them.... I'm reminded of a visit to some old friends of my husband's back in New York. The first time we visited their home, K. showed us around. In the bedroom, on her walls, was a beautiful collection of vintage hats. This woman lives in rural upstate New York; not Fifth Avenue. Does she wear these hats often? I'd guess not. But she displayed them for the gorgeous pieces that they were. No hat boxes here.

It's like my burgundy velvet spaghetti strap dress that I bought at the local thrift store this spring. I wore it once, to the final Harry Potter book release party. I can't bear to tuck it into the closet...it still hangs on the door, because I love it. It makes me happy just to look at it.

So it is with some of my work, like the clocks, which DO function, but as it says right on them, "Does anybody really know what time it is?", and there's not a number to be found on any of them....And there's the bowls. Again: limited functionality. They ARE bowls, so of course you can put things in them. But not the lemons. DO NOT put your lemons in there, because when you forget about them and they go moldy, you won't be able to stick the bowl in the dishwasher... You can, however, put the bowl on your mantle, and admire it, in all it's lemon-less loveliness, as you stroll by on your way to dump the moldy lemons. OR, as has been demonstrated, you can turn the bowl upside-down, and stick it on your head. Hence, the new art helmets.

These may be the most functional art I've done yet!
(Besides the earrings. Photos of those to come.)