Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Off To The Land of KCRW

I'm off to LA today to family hang and teach the collage class on Saturday.  The thing I really love about these classes is the camaraderie that you find.  Many people have done this kind of work before, but don't really realize they have it in them.  So, it's sharing ideas and introducing some new techniques that get people excited again about what they can do.

After the great response I've gotten locally, I'm already talking classes for the holidays.  I've got a couple places in mind... and one shop I talked with yesterday mentioned bringing in food trucks during the evening class!  There's a back garden, on a beautiful side street and we can craft, eat, drink and be merry to our hearts content!  I'm liking where this is going....

First though, if you haven't already, but are wishing you had:  Sign up for Saturday's class!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

buttons, buttons, who's got the buttons?

Well, apparently, I DO now.

I'm making buttons by the buttload!

Bazillions of buttons, all vintage ephemera:  Books, song sheets, labels, old LIFE magazines, wallpaper, typed work pages....

I've got a thing for buttons now.

I can blame it all on my sister, who brought her button making madness to the NSS last May.  It caught on and it caught up to me, and now it's how I spend my free moments, making buttons.  Maison d'Etre in the East Bay can't keep 'em in stock!  I just shipped a bunch to Oz, as well.  A great little shop called Newspaper Taxi has bought into buttons!

The best part is finding the images:  digging through all the piles and piles of old books and papers and journals and pamphlets and labels, on and on and thinking there it is, there's the image, and that one little inch is going to say a whoooole lot for someone.

I think I get such a kick out of it because I used to be a major button wearer.  I still find myself buying a little button at the counter top, just before I pay for all those cards and zines in my hand.  Growing up, I had buttons on my jacket and my backpack.  I couldn't pass up a good band button:  I had a set of Beatles buttons that were the absolute bomb.  And buttons that said "question authority" or "kiss me it's my birthday/ I'm Irish", were always on hand.  I believed in communication by button for awhile there. 

And now it's my turn to create the idea, make the button, and help someone else communicate by button.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

rub out

now, this may not look like much....
just a collection of something from S.C.R.A.P.  (oh, scrap, resource to the resourceful,  let me count the ways...)

But, a few weeks ago when i walked into Flax to pick up my annual supply of transfer letters, the guy looked at me straight on and said,
oh, they stopped making those.  The display we had was the last of it's kind. 

My mouth dropped open. 

You can't just stop making something all-together or decide to stop fixing that particular thing, as it goes to it's dinosaur-like death.  People use transfer-letters.  They do!

Okay, I DO!

So, someone does...

and there's no way, really, you can't tell me that the rub-on letter inventor-guys decided they weren't cool anymore. 

I re-discovered the ole rub-on letters years ago and, ever since, have continued a one-way love affair.  I use them regularly in card designs, I use them in art work often, and I've done entire pages of text this way for a hand-made book.  Thinking they were gone forever from my grasp,  I remember telling a few friends about it:  Sure, I got weird looks and the repeated question, "People still use those?!"  I was fairly bummed out.

But your lows will have their compliment of highs.

Weeks later, after I've done an on-line search and come up with the most horrible transfer letters and images ever thought of, finding nothing I could possibly use ... I walk into SCRAP, purely unassuming.  I often find something I need like crazy here.  More often than not, it's two or three things.  This trip was on a different level.  I was going with a purpose, for certain finds:  old envelopes, maybe some old paper, a great old stapler and pencil sharpener (all of which I found).  But, never did I imagine coming across this treasure trove.

The pencil lead here is still raw to the touch.  I had stopped using a pencil for transfers when I was a kid -- learning that you don't need to be drawing all that lead out, you can use any hard edge -- but now I'm back, due to this inspiration.  Something extremely satisfying about drawing out the old lead to get a simple black letter.

I love thinking about all the different office people that used these, each one with a different style:  black pen, super hard scratching, pencil led, soft touch, just the outline of the letter, all around the letter.  Then a type I'd never seen: the cut-out-rub-on-letter,

Each envelope was specifically crafted for holding these very important sheets of letters.

Large manila envelopes:  sides split, tops taped, and the fronts clearly labeled.

And, a bonus sheet:

never ending periods, ellipses, or dots galore, however you look at it.
And I'll be looking at this whole bunch of goodness for quite awhile now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Look Me In The Eye

It's pretty powerful to look someone right in the eyes. Imagine having to do it for an indefinite amount of time. To sit, in quiet, is a difficult task on it's own. To look at someone while you're doing it...well, it adds a challenge.

We don't often think about looking people in the eye:  The guy that isn't your waiter, but brings the water to your table, the person that holds a door open for you as you're entering the bank,  the neighbor who's walking their dog, the cashier of anywhere you go, and that little kid that's staring at you in wonder as she gets dragged past you in the crosswalk.  As a collective, we tend to avoid eye contact, opting for the easier look down, by, past or over someone.  That head on connection can feel overly-intimate for some people,

as evidenced by the portraits from the recent show at MOMA.  People that sit and stare in the artist's face for whatever amount of time they're comfortable, or uncomfortable with, and appear to be quite moved (extremely, in some cases), with absolutely no words involved.

Watching Dennis Hopper stare into the lens, saying nothing, changing expression, looking away.  You could practically write the script for that inner dialogue.

good video find, thanks

I've always liked that phrase "they shared a look between them". 
And I like to practice some form of meaningful eye contact in reality at least once a day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Fox, The Faun & Stella

Stella doesn't exactly love a bath, but she puts up with it.  At least until she thinks we're looking the other way.  She's a ninja.  She's slipped out from under RK's arms, while I was off getting a towel.  But with both of us there, helping get her little body all clean again (so truly necessary after she takes a good roll in something out there), she sometimes even seems to ease into it.  But only for a quick second.  I think I caught that moment this bathtime.  Photo number 4 shows her little tongue sticking out:  She was licking the water off the edge of the tub in this really serene, slow, calm way.  It was like her binky.

Of course, I have no idea how Stella really feels.  About any of it.
Projection seems to be a large part of this relationship.


I found this little image in an 1940's LIFE magazine that a friend gave me years ago.  Since everything is a possible 1"- button these days, I was flipping through the pages and was taken aback at how much this looked like Stella.  She's been seen in both these poses on a pretty daily basis.  Plus, her ears do the same thing.  And I've never understood how  it can be comfortable for her little legs to be bent underneath her like that?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things To Be Involved In

So, I've been asked to teach a collage workshop at French General, in Los Angeles and I'm so excited!  Getting back to the ole FG, working with my sister, Kaari, it's always a good time.  We'll be looking at some techniques to layer, age and create a memory board that you'll walk out the door with.   Head to French General's website, click into Workshops and sign up while there's still some places left!
The plan is to teach more and more of these workshops, especially here in California (but I'm happy to travel to other states with an invite!) and even combine talents with other fabulous artists I know to branch out into painting and book making.  I'll post them as we plan them!

While we're on the topic of French General... the sign-ups for Chateau Dumas are now open! We'll be heading to France June 26th - July 3rd.  There are two different weeks to sign up for:  First week will be with our good friends, Marcia Ceppos of Tinsel Trading and Wendy Addison of Theatre of Dreams.  The second week is with American Quilt Retailer, for textile lovers of all kinds!  There's limited space available in both weeks, so if you know you wanna get your France on, head over to the sign up!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010



Fall Open Studios was another great experience.
Much quieter than usual; Much calmer; But with a sweet quality that allowed me to take each minute in, instead of racing through three days of talking, looking, sharing.
One of the sweetest moments for me this time round was a visit from Danica.

D. came to my very first Open Studios four years ago and, from there, became one of my dearest friends.  One of the things she does very, very well, and always has, is shoot from a different point of view.  She finds strange little things of the utmost interest.  She finds beauty in tiny worlds.


With that in mind, she shot my studio and saw things that I hadn't.  Just like her energy brought something that wasn't there before.

A big shout out to all friends and fans who stopped by that weekend -- it would be nothing without you all.  Thank you.

To see all Danica's great shots, head here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

To Hoard or Not To Hoard, that is the question

Though I've only seen snippets of the show, I completely understand the fascination with hoarders in general.  When I heard about it, I actually got nervous that the people that watch that show, with looks of horror on their face,  would then call me out when they walked in my house or studio.

But, as I was moving things around in my redesigning-of-your-home-keeps-it-interesting mode, which often collides with my I've-just-got-to-find-someplace-to-make-this-fit mode, I realized, I don't think I could be called a hoarder.  I'm too good of a purger. 
That, that purging, is a key element that a true hoarder doesn't possess, unfortunately. 

RK says my purger-mode is truly without sentiment.  While my redesigning-your-home-keeps-it-interesting thing is totally based on sentiment.  It's like a secretary that files things in the file cabinet by emotion instead of topic or fact.  Or, just tosses away the file completely.  Often surprised by the things I suddenly let go, he seems to have figured out the moving-stuff-around part of me pretty quickly. 

It is the redesigning of the physical world around me that actually allows me to let go of the personal behind the item that once was unbearable to live without.  So, I purge (funny word for it) and move forward:  papers not piling up, well, not too high, in the office;  old books stacked to the rafters can now find life in someone else's hands;  fabric you haven't used in years should really be sewn into something by someone else. 

I look forward to letting things go, with as much glee as I do acquiring it, lo those many years ago.

(gads! i just watched a clip of the show-- i am SO not a hoarder!   ...not that there's anything wrong with that)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In all my years of living in apartments, I've never lived in an elevator building.  There were days, when I was shlepping my stuff up three, four flights of stairs that I longed for an easier way.  Usually, the fantasy involved someone else entirely and they were carrying my stuff.

My sister lived in an elevator building years ago when we lived in NY and it was always a surreal experience.  There's the wait time:  You're standing before the doors and chit-chatting with the doorman.  There's the entrance surprise:  You never, ever know who'll be coming off at the same time you're getting on.  And then there's the multi-floor personal experience:  Being in a tiny box with strangers, acquaintances, or possibly an enemy or two, depending on your relative interest in your sibling's neighbors.  Elevators can be strange and wondrous places.

There was once an email that went round, in the early days of emails that would go around to everyone, about the funny things you could do to others while riding in an elevator.  They mostly involved things with you talking to yourself, or to someone in your purse, or out loud to the person next to you...  I don't remember one of them ever being this:

but I wish it had been.

I need to take an elevator more often.

mucho thanks to my new friend at acute angle for the video!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

finding the bright bits

RK and I have a whole new outlook on ways to find a little bit of awesomeness in each day.  We're pinching pennies and are probably having some of the happiest times we've had.  No, not every day.  But a lot of 'em.  We're doing a lot more social things, though so many more of them these days are park bound, or gallery openings, even a community meeting or two.  It's no longer going to shnazzy dinners or drinks at the latest spot we'd been dying to try.  It's getting involved in what feels like a deeper layer of life. 

We know more people in our neighborhood than we have in all the years we've lived here.
We're finding time to do the things we might not otherwise have done.  We're spending a Saturday morning volunteering to clean up a dog park.

Photos of Stella.
Because if checking out her adorable-ness doesn't make you happy, probably nothing will.

 Gads, if someone is anything like I was before we got Stella...well, these photos won't do much of anything but make a little voice go off in your head, dog person! no thank you... but, if in fact you're an 'animal person' as they say, well, then you get it.  You relate to the insanity that it is to love an animal.  I've said it before, but truly, I had NO idea!