Sunday, April 29, 2007

Only One Day Left

Did you know that April is National Humor month?
'Tis true!
It was founded in 1976!!
I swear!
Larry Wilde invented it...and you know Larry, when he gets going on something....

You only have one day to experience this, so laugh it up!

I was thinking of coming up with National "It's a Wonderful Life" Movie Worship month (i am obsessed with this movie: I own it, I watch it any time I can, I know all the words, and I think it has one of the best love scenes in a movie ever made), where everyone would finally take the opportunity to watch the entire film, some weeks more than once, and appreciate how great your own life is-- but it seems all the months are taken.

You know what? This will have to do: it appears that National Humor Month and National Its a Wonderful Life Movie Worship Month have been combined.
Good enuf.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Global Warmth

is it spring? is it summer? does it matter?

I took these three photos, quick-like, on the way home from the studio tonight around 8pm, trying to capture the mood of the city. They don't do the light and temperature justice, but just know that it was like daylight and tank-top weather-- we're confused, but LOVIN it!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Apropos of nothing

Where to begin?
My head is a spinning... so many things, so many things. I thought I'd take this opportunity to put all those things out there.

First off, the house finches are coming 'round. Which is awesome. We've had a bird feeder up since December (it was a xmas gift from dad to RK) and finally they're making their way to the seed. It's exciting on a daily basis. We talk to them, recognize the different male and female couples, and watch them in great detail as the separate the husk from the seed. They're awesome. The starlings are also building a nest inside an old vent on our building, near our window. It's been an interesting study of their relationship. More on that as it progresses.

The Art Span Auction happened last night. It's the first auction I donated to when I moved to SF and have donated to ever since. The last two years, my pieces have sold, which was awesome. And, this year, to my surprise, my piece was actually in the live auction. So, while the auctioneer called out "300, i hear 300, 350? do i hear 350?" and my heart was pumping, i was seeing little paddles flying up in the piece sold for $475. That felt good. I was nervous. What if no one bid? Turns out, the woman standing in front of us just held her paddle in the air until it got to $450...and so, i went up to her and said, "really? you really wanted that piece?" and she said 'yes' and on and on and we got to talking... and it made me think, hell, maybe I'll keep doing this! It was crazy. I don't know who actually bought the piece, but I hope to meet them someday. I'm always curious about someone that pays a lot of money for a piece of mine. I wonder, what part of it spoke to them? What was it that they read into it? I love that random connection. So, it was a good night. I went with RK and Dylan and they both had a crazy time (An open bar will do that to you!). I love being in that "art world"-- meeting all those people I admire and to be among them, what a fun honor.

And, apropos of nothing, Thrift town, which is just below my studio, is selling coats. They're claiming they're rabbit. And they are made in China. My friend, Ro and I went in and gave each coat a good feel over. Trust me, they're not rabbit. They are probably dog. In fact, they are probably chow dog (sorry C&K, but they have the exact same coat as Emmy!). They're intense. Not only are they gracing the windows of Thrift Town, but there are many, many more available for $29.99 in the shop. I LOVE Thrift Town, but this might just cross the line of wrong.

And, finally, I had wanted to do a simple post of two really great quotes, but thought they might fit in here, this 'apropos of nothing' post, they might just be right...though, i must admit, i hope they don't get lost in all this other stuff (and i can't find the other quote! i can't believe it!). But this one is fabulous:

"To cure jealousy is to see it for what it tis--a dissatisfaction with self, an impossible claim that one should be at once Rose Bowl princess, medieval scholar, Saint Joan, Milly Theale, Temple Drake, Elanor of Aquitaine, one's sister and a stranger in a pink hat seen once and admired on the corner of 55th and Madison, as well as oneself, mysteriously improved." -- Joan Didion

That quote got me thru a lot of years....
The other quote is about second thoughts and how they are the worst...I hope I can find it and pass it on. Fingers crossed.

May you have a fantastic Friday. I'm off to teach two classes of fifth and sixth grade, give a spelling test, and show a movie. When did the universe switch, so that I'm the one giving the tests and showing the movies on a friday morning at school (where are the "adults"?!)? Strange, indeed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fabuloid Zabala

Thank goodness I've got my sister behind me on this show. If it weren't for her many fabulous ideas and gettin-it-done-ness, I'd be that much further behind right about now. Of course, I wouldn't be anywhere without my wonderful husband, RK, who has got the technical side of things under control(*update: RK just finished designing the show postcard and my business card--which i'll post soon, but for now, just know, they are GORGEOUS!Thank you RK!) and will be the first line of printing all the product. So, between my big sister and RK, I know it'll be a hit.

Kaari, who is also the magic (with her husband, Jon) behind this might just be considered the queen of craftivity (full disclosure: i stole that word!).

Kaari and I worked together for almost ten years in NYC. We had a jewelry business, with lots of employees, lots of customers, and lots and lots of work. What we really wanted to do was lots of travel, lots of junk shopping, and drink lots of wine. We managed to find time for those things, too, but not in the quantity that we'd hoped for as owners of a business. So, we closed up the studio on 24th Street, whittled down the personnel, created new hours for ourselves and moved to Crosby Street to open up a little shop called French General. It was a good time. We traveled, we shopped, we drank wine. Eventually, we were looking for another change and that came in the form of moving to the west coast, back to where we came from (sort of). Kaari re-opened F.G. in Hollywood and I carved out a little world for myself in SF. The great thing is that we never stopped collaborating on projects. I often call her and say, "what do you think of fruit these days? is marine life all played out? i'm thinking of going with a bird theme..." In turn, I head down to FG and usually turn things upside down and try to convince her that she should try this or that in the shop.
So, when I called her and said my little card company, 8mm ideas, had been accepted to the NSS trade show and asked her if she'd work it with me, first, we jumped up and down with joy....then, we laughed our heads off. We were going back in. See, one thing we did do lots and lots of were trade shows. There are hundreds of these things, around the world, all the time. We did the same trade show, every year, three times a year, at the Jacob Javitz Center. Now, if you've never been to a trade show... how can I describe it? It's like living in a Vegas lounge (but without the free drinks or the slot machines) for four days straight, combined with a high school reunion (but you have to wear the name tag and you have to talk to everyone!). They're rough. You're on your feet, 9-6, hawking your wares and hoping for sales. The shows are a huge investment, monetarily, physically, mentally, but they can also be worth it. They can be the one giant leap that your hopeful, little business needs.
But you've gotta have something to grab the people. Kaari and I were always trying to out-do the last booth we did. It's a 6x10 booth with two draped curtains and industrial rug under your feet. That's it. That's what you get for all that investment. So, it's up to you to create a world inside those 60 sq feet. Luckily, Kar and I would like to imagine we're anywhere but in the Javitz, so we usually create a space that we could live in (if we had to) for a week. One year we had the Madonna's Ray of Light theme, another was the taxidermy/mourning theme. We brought lamps and birdcages and couches and rugs. We'd be up til 3am the night before, sewing buttons on cards to give away a 'goodie' to good customers. But we were old hats at it, people would come looking for us, we had an established product.

This time, it's all new. I've never introduced/exposed my card line on this level. So, there's a sense of excitement that we'd lost from the past. We've both got a new outlook on the show (with some of the old trade-show survival outlooks firmly intact, thank goodness!). And, when Kaari said to me, "let's show the cards differently than anyone else..." I was open, but wondered what she meant. And then, the 'sample' panel arrived in the mail. I opened the box, took out the rolled up panel and sucked in my breath! It was perfect. It's beautiful. It's gonna rock.
we'll be doing a number of these panels, with a number of these pockets
each sewn individually. We went over the details, right down to the brown thread and the zigzag design that will hold each pocket onto this fabulous old hemp. It's going to be like an old carny theme. My mom is going to paint a big ole beautiful sign that can be rolled out and hung, as well, listing: goods, wares, and wonders! Kaari's helping me plan the whole thing: the tiny clipboards we'll use, the old hemp aprons we'll be wearing, and the inspiration bits and pieces that are pinned around. And, of course, we'll be giving out goodies! If you find yourself in NYC May 21st-24th, you can find us, 8mm ideas, in booth 1973.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I loooooove food!

(i just want to make sure everyone knows that you can click on the picture --any picture--and it will open larger in another window, so you can acutally see it.)

I love food. I love talking about food. I love reading about food. I love trying "new" food. But, with all that love, I'm not that great of a cook. That's maybe being a little hard on myself. I cook. And, at times, I cook quite a bit. Some of the things I cook, I love. Other things, um, well, they won't get repeated anytime soon. In fact, many things I cook, I make up. So, there's no recipe, there's nothing for me to remember for the next time. When RK says, "wow, this is really good, you should make this again," I nod my head, but know in my heart, it'll never be the same.

Last night C. and K. dropped in for an impromptu visit, which was awesome. K. is the head pastry chef at a very nice restaurant here in SF (and C. is no slack when it comes to cooking either!). We've eaten at their house a thousand times and not once, not once, have we had something we didn't rave about for days afterwards. The great thing is, K. will always go into the analyzation of the meal after we've all eaten. It can sound like she's dissing her cooking abilities, but I understand it. She sees it in her mind, she "tastes" it in her mouth, she feels it in her soul--all before the ingredients are even put together. So, she knows what she's going for. If it doesn't turn out exactly like that, it's tough to let that go. It's hard not to explain to everyone what you were really trying for was for the onions to be slightly crunchy and the blue cheese to be slightly more melted and you should have been able to taste more pistachio. I totally get it. Now, I'm not as articulate when describing food (I could do it to high heaven with any of my art pieces, though), but I do love talkin' food with K. So, when they stopped by last night, naturally, we got talking about food. Specifically, her menu-making. She gets to come up with new desserts every two weeks. Most of us are used to cookies, or a slice of cake or maybe a scoop of ice cream for dessert, well, this is a much bigger feat, trust me. She works with the freshest seasonal fruit and comes up with the most inventive of items to please hundreds and hundreds of customers. It's an intense gig. And, I don't really have any creative things to add to that (though, at one point, after a few glasses of wine, I thought I'd offer up my own cookbooks!), but I looooove hearing about each and every element of these future desserts. I also LOVE dessert.
So, all that convo got me thinking and got me grocery shopping and though I'm not totally sure what I'm making tonight...I thought I'd show off what I made last week. That counts, right?

On cornmeal crusts, one pizza has apple slices, sweet potatoes, pine nuts, blue cheese, and sage. The other one has thinly sliced lamb, cherry tomatoes, garlic, sliced onions and mozzarella.
Oh, Yuuuuuuum.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We make beautiful music together

Do you ever put on your headphones? Turn on your walkman? and have an instant soundtrack to your life playing into your head? Gads, I love that. It happens to me fairly often (im lucky? i own good music? i'm easy like sunday morning?) and it happened to me yesterday. It's like each and every song is being played just for you. And if fits. The beat, the words, the everything about it. Music is powerful just as it's own entity, really. So, to have it fit the exact moment you decide to walk out the door and turn the corner and throw out the trash and then head up the street....well, that's some power to the n-th degree. The feeling is really strongest when I've gotten myself all organized, backpack on, shoes laced up, and I'm heading off for a long walk of errands. I hate to compare it to tv, but, if this has never happened to you, refer to those VW commercials from a couple years back & they explored the idea pretty well--when they turn on the music and everything outside the car is in time with the beat. That happened to me just yesterday. I was just going on a little walk (i didn't get outside yesterday until 5pm--ooch!) and i put on this new remixedNina Simone album which, if you haven't heard it yet, you need to get it TODAY, and I started on my cruise. It was just unbelievable! It worked with every step I took, and every step everyone else took. The birds that flew in front of me were working it to the tunes, the dogs wagging their tails and their tongues were definitely hearing the same thing I was. It made me feel like I was in Waking Life (which is another story, all together, but lately, i always feel like i'm in waking life). I couldn't stop smiling all big (i'm sure in instances like that i just look kookoo, but i don't care). Every interaction I have is a good one. The grass looks greener, the sky looks bluer, it's a beautiful thing. Sometimes I wish I could be shooting the whole thing and then put it to the music and have my own little personal moment movies. But, I guess, having it all up in my memory is pretty sweet too.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What a gorgeous day. The weather is warm and fuzzy in the sun and cooler in the shade. I laid in bed this morning until the phone rang at 9am (RK is away for the weekend and it's hard for me to go to bed early or get up early without him) it was M&M going to our favorite coffee joint, wondering if i'd join them. Of course! It's not the joint itself we love, but the coffee at this place is like a drug, and then getting to hang out with their little bebe, J., is an even better drug! M. also brought me birthday goodies (she'd already outdone herself with my bday, but she's such a good gift giver, i accepted the bounty of today)--three really juicy old books she'd found. The above photo being the cover of one of them. The subtitle to Happy Times is actually, "the road to safety". And there's all kinds of good stuff to use for cards and upcoming art pieces. Lucky, lucky me! We lazily made our way up to Cliff's Hardware (which, yes, I admit it, is like another drug for me--so, by now, i'm ALL doped up!) and puttered around for nails and tacks and bits and pieces. I talked glass cutting with Lissette, who works there, and she showed me all their old tools and it made me think I might get into cutting my own glass for frames.

I've been doing some long hours at the studio, which feels SO great. Yesterday was a good full day of it. I'm working on a few different things, I think I've mentioned a billion times. I just added a new one in: I'm going to submit to a show called "Childish Things" at 301 Bocana Gallery. And this whole theme of childhood and memories and what was and whats now comes up a lot for me lately. So, I've almost finished this piece with carbon drawings on old school paper...hard to explain, will need to photograph it, i think. I made a small card line with similar images and ideas. This is one example: Christina stopped by the studio yesterday and that was really fun. We blabbed and blabbed and then had burritos and beer in the empty gallery space and then headed back into the studio and crafted some more. I'd love to do that more often, have friends come by and just hang and work on stuff. I think with Open Studios coming up it'll really open things up (no pun intended, actually).

I'm all over the place--and I just looked at the clock! OhmY! I've got to run and pick up RK from the airport! Yeah! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Get your Creative On

Creativity Exploredpresents SHADOWSHINE "an exhibition where studio artists get face to face with themselves and create self portraits and other explorations of self."

I love creativity explored. It was one of the first places I went to visit when I moved to san francisco. If you've never been, you need to go. You can check out the gallery and sometimes they even let you into the artists studio. I've been and met many of the artists who wanted to talk about art and politics and show me their latest creation. Creativity Explored is a "non-profit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art."

Opening nights are insane, people are lined up out the door, and I've even had a friend almost come to blows over trying to buy a piece of art. I've saved almost every p.card from their shows because I'm always in love with the piece that is highlighted (and that piece seems to always be sold when I get there!). The piece shown here is a self portrait by Yolanda Ramirez. It instantly reminded me of my sisters and the 70's and the piece around her neck, I think my sister Kaari owned.

"Did you go to the roof?"

I got thinkin about roofs today because I was coming down from the top floor of my studio building, celebrating 4/20, and e.o. saw me and asked, all excited, if I'd just gone to the roof?
I hadn't, because it says it's locked and alarmed and I wasn't ready to chance it, but I'd love to and told him so.
He explained it's just a flathead screwdriver to the rusty deadbolt and poof! you're on the roof!
What if the alarm goes off, I wondered aloud?
A-ha, just close the door and walk back to your studio, forget about it, it'll go off in five minutes.
It sounded worth it to me. It's the roof! I'm about to experience a view of SF I've never had before!

The roof. It's such a novel idea. In fact, it might even be one of those "american" things, or maybe it's really a city life thing.

Growing up in So. Cal we never thought of an 'outdoor' party as anything particularly surprising or exciting. We all grew up with yards and then in college, it was totally normal for someone to be renting a house with a big ole backyard. I guess a thrill, back then, was to actually get on the (slanted) roof of a house.

But, when I moved to new york city, "going to the roof" was like the icing on the top of a good apartment party. We all lived in a small 1 or 2 room apartment, straight up, next door to every other person living in a 1 or 2 room box (i mean, apartment). If someone you knew knew someone you'd never heard of and they mentioned they were having a 'roof party', your first question was not where? (it just didn't matter where) but what time? and can we go early if we bring enough booze?

In ny, it was all about getting out of the box and breathing in that air, whatever air it may be (refer to an earlier posting of mine where I explain the "air" on my old apt. roof) and having the opportunity to check out the city from a totally new angle (preferably from above). Now, if you knew there was gonna be an actual view (again, anyone that had a roof, had a a view: one might be of the beautiful exhibitionist who takes showers when she knows you're looking, while the other may be of an all-night deli) that was often a touted bonus: 'when you go up to the roof, you can see the west side highway, world trade center and the empire state building!' If you could get all those in one night from one roof, you took it. You went to that roof.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Random Connections

I had a fingerprinting appointment at 1pm today in Oakland. I got there really early and waited around in the office, people watching really, pretending to read. I figured the appointment, once it started, would be a quick in-and-out. I'd done this fingerprinting thing a thousand times, I knew the routine. Plus, the woman I'd made the appointment with on the phone, Joanne, well, I didn't think she'd had much of a sense of humor. I'd been my ole effervesent self when making the apt. a few weeks ago and to every friendly advance or cute comment of mine she gave me back a wall of silence. I even got off the phone and told this story to friends about how people in offices are always stock characters: and the ones in HR are the worst! Humorless, I said, or angry, my friend added in.

So, now we find Joanne and I, chair to chair, as she's typing my information into the computer. She types in my birthday and says, "oh, thats the year my son was born. And his birthday is April 12th."
Oh, that's funny, isn't it? Where does he live?, I inquire.
"He was killed four years ago on December 13th. But he would have been 37 this year, your age."
That's right. I'm sorry Joanne, how was he killed?
"He was shot in the head in a robbery," she told me, "they got $800 dollars from his store." These guys wanted the money and her son, Sean, wasn't going down without a fight.

Joanne and I ended up back in her cubicle office and talked about Sean and her grandson and her family and daughter, who is due to give birth this summer. We talked about her being a seven year survivor of cancer, and the irony behind believing you would die before your children. We talked about harlem, where she moved to CA from just nine months before her son was killed and how much her life has changed. She told me, because she had Sean when she was 20, they were like pals. They relied on each other. When she was still in harlem and Sean lived in Oakland, he'd call her at 3am ("see, that was midnight his time," she'd explain) and say, 'don't pick up, mom, don't get out of bed, don't pick up, really. i'm just getting off work and wanted to talk to you. but, just listen tonight, and then call me back tomorrow and let me know what you think.' She said they did that a lot. She told me they both got really into astrology because he's an aries (she talked in the present tense often) and she didn't want to break his spirit but wanted to know what she was in for. I told her, as an aries, I understand that completely. We laughed about aries and what whirlwind personalities they can be. And then I told her about making the apt. weeks ago and thinking we would probably clash because she seemed to be stunned by my boistrous-ness on the phone. We got a good laugh out of that one.

I stood up to leave and she said, "I feel really good. I haven't released that in a long time. I feel so much better right now." Wow, I thought, so do i. I told her there was a reason we met and she responded with (and I knew she would), "there's a reason for everything."

Last night it was a neighbor who needed to vent about family stuff, last week it was the girl who works at the bar overwhelmed with sadness about being dumped, and two years ago, every week, it was a different little old lady in father demo square.
I invite it. I ask for it. Maybe not in so many words (though, sometimes, yes, the straight up questions bring forth the true story), but maybe in the way that I look at them. Or I ask them "how you doing?" and they answer, "not very good....." I ususally stop in my tracks and wonder why. It's not that I particulary like hearing the drama or the tragedy or the memories, even, but I am fascinated. I'm fascinated by life. I find the human condition fascinating. I'm totally in awe of the fact that someone standing right next to me, at this point, a total stranger, can be going through something SO major and yet, they're holding it in. I don't have any connection to them. Maybe it's about craving the random connection. We're all constantly walking around with major life happenings. Life keeps happening, whether we're involved with it or not. And I think I might be here to hear some of it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Forever" is just a moment in time

Went to the post office today to do the usual: mail some things and buy some stamps. It was a good morning for it, I walked in and I was the only one in there. When does that ever happen? When lo and behold, I heard the postwoman tell a patron "stamps are going up to 41 cents on May 15th". Whaaaaat?! I sidled on up to her and said, "whaaaaat???! Didn't stamps just go up?" and she replied, "yes, a year ago." Now, I don't know about you, but I don't just expect things to go up from year to year (yes,yes, rent, of course, and maybe the cost of the bus), so this was a shock to my system. I use the postal service A LOT and every time I buy a whole load of stamps, next thing I know, they up the ante on me and I've got to buy a whole bunch of one and two cent stamps.
I like a solid stamp on an envelope. Just one, solid stamp. I like to pick out the ones I love (really loved the children's book ones, and the rain forest scene,and the Muppet's) and, to me, the one you pick makes a statement. When I had my first solo show, I used the super-hero's stamps for a reason: I was going for it, putting my best super-hero foot forward, here-i-am-world, watch me fly/wrangle a jet/form of an icicle! If you've got all those other little onesies and twosies taking away from the main stamp...well, it's just anticlimactic. Really.
The very nice postal woman then offered me a "forever" stamp, which you can use "forever", but I've bought those stamps before and they have a time limit too. If stamps keep going up in, how forever can they really be?
The only saving grace to the whole debacle is this set, the new 41 cent stamps to be revealed in May. For me, these mean nothing more than a good inside joke*, but, Oh, RK will be so happy! I think I'll have to start mailing things to our own house!

*when rk and i first started dating, we thought it would be a cool, romantic nite to rent a movie. i'd never seen Lord of the Rings and he couldn't believe i'd never seen it and thought i would love it. you know, like introducing something really cool you know about but your new love doesn' that. i figured there was a reason i'd never gone to see this film (and, by that time, i think there were about three of 'em made)and i asked him if it had creepy goblins and talking trees... he thought about it and decided on the answer, "not really." turns out, one of the first things IN the movie is a freakyass goblin and then the next thing is talking trees. i closed my eyes just a few minutes into it, covered 'em with my hand for good measure,and soon fell asleep. turns out, Lord of the Rings is not my kind of movie. and, as i eventually revealed (i wasn't hiding the fact,i just didn't know it was that unusual), i was scared shitless by the bar scene in Star Wars.
rk said i shoulda told him that part first. whoops.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?

In today's world of craziness, I feel like I should reflect on the mania and give my two cents. I was even thinking about going off on a little rant about america, guns, and people sidelined as "other". But, rants aren't really useful, unless you're face to face with someone and they can give their three or four cents back. So, instead, I'd like to offer a possible solution (tongue firmly planted in cheek): smencils. That's right, I said smencils. Just saying it is a good time. They are gourmet scented pencils made from recycled newspapers. It's just a thought, but maybe, if we started our kids out early, all the same way, with the idea that something like a simple pencil can be a soothing thing, instead of a minor weapon (smeeelll the pencil, don't jab the lead in your little friend's leg, just smeeellll....) we might all be better off as adults.

Monday, April 16, 2007

To Spring

Spring is really here. Well, not for my friends in NYC (sorry to hear about that), but for us, here in the land of ohmygoshcanyoubelievethisweather, spring is bursting out like crazy. I walk around, wishing I had my camera, so I could take a pic of every cherry blossom blossoming and every little birdie singing and the flowers popping out... I'm constantly saying, 'wow, look at that! look at that!' It's like I've never seen spring before. But, for some reason, this year's spring is exceptionally beautiful. It's also keeping me in that melancholy mind-set, as well. Where have I been? What am I doing? Is this all going where it's supposed to go??? (I'm not sure if that's all good or bad)

My birthday was excellent (christina just posted about our friday, it's a really nice tribute to the day!)--a full on weekend of pampering and hanging and RK really outdid himself on my surprises. (the flowers above were from him a couple days before my birthday and they've lasted!) It was a fabulous birthweekend. This little jackrabbit was in Bodega Bay where we headed for the weekend. Spring, it's everywhere...
(can you even see him among the other little bushes? funny...)

And then, the Constructions show on Thursday night was a good time. We had a great turn out and met a lot of new people. It took a few times for me to show people how to work the Phobophobia project, but once word got round that there was a piece of interactive art, people were trying it out more. I got some great feedback from friends and strangers alike. And, other than the gallery owner pronouncing my name with a T, an S, and a Z (none of which are in my first OR last name) I got through it all without a hitch. We went out afterwards and celebrated and that was the best. Now I've got Open Studios coming up the weekend of May 11th and then May 18th, take off for the National Stationary Show in NYC with my sister. Lots to do and, in my classic style, so little time to do it in.

Because of spring break, I've just had a week away from my Oakland 5th graders (the ones I teach the drama/literacy program to) and though I know my time with them is short (one hour a week)and we have this whole project to complete in this little amount of time...I just want to take like five minutes with them this Thursday to say, "you know what, you guys? I just want you to take a little risk here. You don't have to do it in front of the whole class. You don't have to worry I'm gonna call on you and embarrass you. I want you to be able to say, "man, I had this great time in drama once 'cuz i completely let myself go." You've got your whole life to be cautious! Nows the time, today, this very day, to take the risk. Give it all you've got for this moment. I feel like this is my time to talk to my fifth grade self. Not from a place of, "When I was your age blah blah blah..." but to give 'em an opportunity to go a little bit crazy and see what it feels like. I see all the kids I went to school with too, I see the Debbie's and the Mary's and the Denise's and, of course, I see me. And I want to say to me, to the others: Guess what? Nows your chance to do it. Yes, you will probably get other chances in your lifetime, but start now and your chances will become greater. No judgements, no looking around at what others are doing. Just break out of your mold. Trust me on this one.
I had a tiny 'take a risk' moment in the classes last week, but I feel like trying to have them hear it one more time. I would love it if this class is something that affects their life so positively (subconsciously is good too)--it's not me I need them to remember--it's what they learned about themselves. I hope they hear what I'm trying to put out there: You are great, now act like it, feel it, and let others feel it too. Treat everyone around you with respect and hopefully you get it in return. The classic, "do unto others" really holds true throughout life.

I'm really excited to see them again, even if I don't get to articulate that exactly...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

ConSTruCtiOnS, Part two

Join me and many other fantastic artists for this group show on Thursday night--opening nights are always the best time, free drinks and lots of shmoozing... I'm excited for the pieces I've made and am really excited about the other artists fabulous pieces, too! Hope to see you then...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Early Morning Harvest

There's so many things going on, sometimes to sit and post is just a pure pleasure that I can't afford--but, I'm doing it anyway!
I'm working at a spring-break camp this week with elementary school kids and we're working on a public art project that we hope to put up/install/present in Dolores Park on Friday. I brought in the movie "Rivers and Tides" about Andy Goldsworthy's work and it's completely inspired them (which is a beautiful thing to watch) and now they only want to work with the natural elements provided by the park. Unfortunately, it's taken a few conversations to let them know that "natural"colors aren't usually rainbow. At least not growing in the park...

I'm also preparing (cuz I'm a last minute lady like that) for the upcoming group show on Thursday, Constructions, which I'll post details about again tomorrow. But, for now, I wanted to give a glimpse of another piece I've finished. It was really hard to capture on film, so I did little details of it. It's called "Harvesting Doubt" (one of my favorite "accidents" is that you can see the words "there is nothing wrong with you--forget it!" on one of the book pages I've lined the box with. Those pages come from a book called You Must Relax, a classic)
It's a wooden box with an old primer card that I've typed on and in each little vellum envelope, are little seeds with doubt written on each one. The seeds of doubt have planting directions, as well, of course: Plant early, direct sun, etc. Everything to keep doubt in full bloom. Because I wrote on hundreds of these little seeds, I have a ton of extra ones that I'd like to start giving out to people whenever they have a doubt about something...they can smash their own seeds of doubt. Lately, I've felt like I could keep a pocketful for myself, too!

Friday, April 6, 2007

You say it's your birthday....


Thanks to these two, who started it all...

thanks for the birth, mom and dad, love you!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Lovin the ride

On this, the day before my birthday, I find myself in a contemplative mood about everything. I was putting some blankets and pillows away last night and came across my old grover and i just flashed to being a kid again. The smallest thing to cross my path lets me reflect on life in the past and life to come.

I love life, man. Really, really love it. And it just gets better as you get older.

{now, i know some of you who have talked to me lately are thinking, 'wait, weren't you just crying over what to do with your life next? weren't you the one who was totally stressed out about all that's going on?'--and to that, I say, 'yup, that was me!' But isn't it great that I DO have so much going on? That I have a choice about what to do next with my life? Once you get me away from the epicenter of the stress, I can clearly see the silver lining to it all.}

You think old people just say this to you as a kid but life really does get better as you get older. No, your body might not feel as good, and you can't eat whatever you want (although i still do!), and the tire around the middle stays longer than it used to, and you do actually find yourself shocked at what "the kids" are into these days, and yes, you listen to a lot more talk radio. But, bring it on, I say, I'll take it. I'll take being the teacher in the fifth grade any day over actually being back in the fifth grade.
I'm very, very lucky where I'm at in all these years-- I'm always surprised at what life brings me and luckily, it's usually a happy surprise.

I have a fantastic, fabulous husband.
I'm crazy about my family!
I have the greatest friends a girl could need, want, or ask for.
I work jobs that I just love and,
I get to be an "artist" part time and a greeting card maker part time, too!

I have no idea where it'll all lead, but I'm really digging on the ride.

Studio Time is Happy Time

I've been spending most of my time in here lately

it feels really good. At first I wasn't sure if I could be anywhere that wasn't in my home. Sure, I'd dreamed of a studio, a real live studio. But the reality was much stranger. I moved into a multi-studio space in one of the "middle" rooms. When I first walked in all I saw was a room with no windows and no natural light. A big, square, white room. Really? This is where I was gonna get creative?
It didn't take too long. Now it feels like a home away from home. I love going there. I love putting on my headphones and getting to work. I love that I don't have the thought of cleaning the bathroom, or doing the dishes, or making any calls to distract me. And, you know what? The no window is a good thing (I used to spend A LOT of time looking out the window and watching the world go by in my home studio); and the natural light thing, well, it turns out, with these long light days, the sun comes dipping into my studio from the far windows for a good (gorgeous, really) hour or more each day. I'm putting a big mirror up on that wall to catch the light and beam it into the rest of the space. I have my daily little rituals when I enter: hang bag, keys and coat on hook immediately to your right as you come in, turn on the little green lights, strike a match and light the candle, ipod in, little dance, and down to work.

I really, really love the studio and I hope, come May Open Studios in the Mission, a lot more people will come and enjoy it with me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Happy Hump Day

Shout Out to my New Yorkers!
Okay, so you'll need 5 minutes and 49 seconds (and a place to listen with volume) to enjoy the brilliance of this video, but it's worth it.


I love these long-light days. They make me feel like summer in nyc (right as i hear Regina Spektor sing "summer in the city" --beautiful moment).
Today was hot. Hot for San Francisco, really.
I love heat. Love, love, love it. When people say, 'well, you wouldn't like it if it were like this all the time (referring to a gorgeousfuckingday)' Uh, yeah, i would. I mean, hey, I love winter, too.....but, the heat, it's all about the heat.
I didn't own an a/c for the first 7 years of being in my ny apt. Up until the last year I was there, friends and family would BEG--"pleeeeease get a freakin a/c. Stop trying to be so tough!"

suuuure, that might have been part of it.

And then, they just started to straight up refuse to play at my place, "can we pleeeease go to a cafe with a/c?!"

But, usually my apartment had some winning attribute that got them all back there: an illegal roof (perfect for those hot summer nights of fantasizing and bitching simultaneously--hey, we'd say, pretend you're someplace else, like hawaii...and then, this serious funk would spew from this big vent! we lived above an old school restaurant that had a number of issues--when i previously wrote about a certain firehouse that saved my apt from burning to the ground, yeah, this restaurant was the cause of the fire--ooch.), an awesome view of 7th Avenue, Holland tunnel traffic (and when i say awesome, i mean close enough to the street that you could get caught totally nude, mid-shower-and-bedroom-crossing and a double decker tour bus thought they were at a raunchy Universal Studios--RK suggested curtains and I finally succumbed)

Which brings me back to the hot summer nights of NYC. I feel more creative when it's hot out, and stays lighter later and the days seem so, literally, much longer (yes, "day-time" is longer, but the days are still the same 24 hours--so, its a little trick I like to play on my own brain).

So, I'm finishing up this piece called "Phobophobia" for this upcoming group show called "Constructions". (I'm thrilled about being in the show--they're a great group of artists to share a gallery with. And I hope to have about four or five pieces in it. Christina is going to write about it on SFist & I'll make that link live when it happens.)

Sooooo, this piece: it's based on this idea that this man and woman, that were sorta self-made therapists, believed that they could rid people of fear if they just forced a type of "it's all in your mind" game to it. So, they made a prototype of this sort of parlor game/self-help product for the masses, in the early 1920's. You pick up a "card" (by the handle on the back) that has your greatsest fear (insects or childhood nightmares) and you put the oval box up to your eyes (like you're going to watch slides, blinders at your eye-sides) and bring the fear (card) in close. Right up to your eyes--it's closing in on you--you're breathing harder--it's getting closer-- and, then______________. It's totally black. There's nothing there. You can't see it.


Your fears are all in your mind.

I'm not sure why my pieces seem a little strangely heavy...weird...
maybe I'm working some things out.

Wherever you are tonight, I hope your weather is something to enjoy.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Under The Table

My first truly commissioned piece was made this month and shipped last week to a client in Boston. It was made for a couple who had moved from San Francisco to Newton, Mass and they wanted something that was about their inside world of SF. But, they didn't want it SO "insider" that someone else would wonder what they heck it was all about. I asked for momentos from their time here : old love letters, creased movie tickets, anything that I might be able to translate into a personalized piece. But, instead, what I got was a list of places they loved while they were here. Everything from Hwy 80 to Delfina. A list. A straight up list of things. The one saving grace is that they are both big foodies, and more than half the list were restaurants. I decided to do a love story through the gastronomical tracts of San Francisco. Three days before I shipped it out, I didn't love it, I was really nervous... and then, the day I sent it to them, I fell in love with it.
Luckily, they did too.
They've since asked me to make another one, this time for some friends of theirs who I've never met. I get excited about the possibilities that holds for me. It's a challenge. Maybe this personalized, commissioned art could become a thing for me.

*sorry you can't see the details of the piece, since it's in the details that the juiciness lays....