Sunday, December 28, 2008

Crochet gave me the bird

Browsing the magazine stand and then thumbing through the latest issue of Crochet Today, I caught a glimpse of this darling bluebird and knew I had to make it. It was described as "easy" and I suppose it would be...for someone who crochets regularly. I used to be one of those people. You know, unable to put down the work at night, keeping a project in the car for traffic jams, hoarding yarn like it would feed me in a famine.
But it has been months since I crocheted anything more than a dolly hat, so making this little five-inch, single crochet birdie took a lot longer than I expected. Of course, I was trying to watch Mamma Mia for the fourth time. But, you'd think after that many viewings I could at least follow some simple stitch counts and still sing along to "Super Trooper." Not so. But I finished the movie. And then the birdie. I love his little wings. But then I added the bow, so not sure if 'he' is a she. Either way, I think it's cute.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

So Excited! You'd Think I Just Got Published

These two amazing books are by and belong to two fellow artists and people I can truly call friends. I am so excited for them! Each is very different - the book and the person- and I feel privileged to say my art is in each book. The thrill of publication belongs solely to the artists, Jane Powell and Lisa Kettell. But, I'm so thrilled for them, you'd think they were my books.
Altered Art Circus is now available here on Amazon. You won't be disappointed. And I can say that even though my copy is not in my hands yet, for I have some of Lisa's original work as well as works by some of the other contributing artists.
Artist and Silver Bella founder Teresa McFayden reviewed the book here. Although I didn't get a mention there, I am just so happy with her review of Lisa's book. The circus animals by Lisa that Teresa shows on her blog are great, and interestingly enough, Martha Stewart just featured a similar project here by Katie Steuernagle, Matsutake on Etsy. And talk about full circle, Lisa was in the audience, third row, for the Martha taping that day!
The hand-made, 75-pp book above is equally impressive. Owner Jane Powell of Random Arts in Saluda, one of my favorite places, decided to host a collaborative journal project and even sent out some supplies to willing participants to get the ideas flowing. When the unique pages started flowing in from around the country and beyond, Jane knew she had something special.
So special is this book that Jane "donated" it for a fund-raising auction for the Saluda Senior Center and then Jane bought it back in a bidding war for $500.00! How great is that? You can see my "Sorry, Time's Up" page peeking out of the photo above and my finished project here. I hope I can get to Saluda again soon to see the entire book. Here's her story about it.

Finally made something! Take that, Muse!

Anyone who has had his or her muse and mojo run off together knows the joy in my headline. A frustrated creator also knows the experience of spending hours piddling on something only to dislike it enough to tear it apart and start over. And a muse-less, mojo-less person like me would understand why I got excited about simply gluing a piece of clip art into a pendant.
So the above are my results, two-plus months after I bought the supplies at Art & Soul, Portland. I was excited with the colorful collage sheets offered at the ArtChix booth.
And, after a ridiculously-long absence from the ArtChix Yahoo! Group, I was lucky enough to have my pendant chosen for the home page art this week seen here. Thanks Cindy! (and Helga!)
And if that weren't enough, I got a nice comment from the very sweet and gentle Bone Folder (can a bone folder be sweet and gentle?) Mike Jennings of Hannah Grey. Mike and wife Shosh have a fantastic e-store, and are two of the sweetest artists you'd ever want to know. Mike says Shosh is having an art drought. Boy, do I know the feeling! And how about a drought with guilt?! I 'owe' Mike and Shosh some art samples plus a promised 'dolly box' for the Hannah Grey Design Team, and I just can't make a thing to save my life. But, I know it will come- if past experience and quantity of supplies are any indication. Take heart, Shosh!
I was enthused with the ease of the resin-like DG3 Art Gel when I tried it at Collage's free make-and-take in the Art and Soul lobby. In fact, I loved my little Paris pendant I made there, which someone else apparently also liked, because it disappeared during its 24-hour drying period. Who knows? Maybe my muse took that and bolted.
Once home, the supplies sat on my desk until this past weeked. They were joined by some beautiful glass beads I got on another trip as well as my bead soup kits from Gilbert Designs. Everything just kept staring at me, until I finally put most of it away. That in itself is unusual, because I usually organize everything away as soon as I get home from a trip. Maybe my muse can't operate around a messy desk?
While at A&S I scooped up alcohol inks for making glass slides, daubers, said slides (Memory Glass), accompanying frames, bracelet blanks, pendant blanks, two sketch books, charcoal, collage sheets, ephemera, all from Collage on Alberta. In fact, I spent so much maybe my muse left me to get a job. Or perhaps I horrifed her? Overloaded her senses? That's probably closer to the truth.
So, the other night I felt motivated to make a bracelet to wear with a particular outfit. The glass beads were the right color. I had all the stringing supplies: toggle clasp, spacers, pliers, Soft-Flex all laid out in front of me. I perused my latest copy of Stringing. Every thing was so cool! I looked at my stuff. Nothing. Strung two bracelets. I'm a little OCD when it comes to stringing very symmetrically, and symmetry just isn't in style right now (see Stringing). My muse laughed at me! I cut the bracelets apart, filed the beads back into their little cubbies and put everything away.
My next adventure went slightly better. I decided to make the pendants shown above. There's nothing to it. In fact, the ArtChix inchies were already sized to fit the pendant blanks. The pink one is art from a couple different sheets, a little charm and some seed beads. The round one is clip art of a crab from ArtChix, a starfish from Hannah Grey, a shell and some seed beads. When your muse is happy with your arrangement, you simply fill the pendant with DG3 Art Gel, which hardens clear overnight. Voila! Done. Put on some ball chain, and you have a necklace. Not very challenging, but I'm working without my muse and my mojo, so I have to ease back into creating after a bit of an absence.
I know everyone talks about their muse running off, but I had had a good run, nearly 18 months of frenetic creativity in every spare moment, weekends spent without sleeping, juggling multiple projects, writing for four or more blogs, coordinating groups, swaps, fat books, submitting art and articles like crazy for publications, working on an art book proposal, writing fiction. Eek! No wonder my muse needed a vacation. Now if I could just go with her!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Little Buddy...Going to Mom's Alma Mater!

Last week was a watershed event for my alma mater of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. First off, of course I don't think I should have to tell anyone where Ball State is located, but I realize that is a bit optimistic - even if they remain undefeated in football this season and have won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) West championship and are hoping to clinch the MAC East championship on Friday and get a bowl invitation.

But the biggest news, much more amazing than the fact that I have this little dab of football knowledge, is that my little power ranger, my little karate kid, my little buddy woosink (as he once called himself for no apparent reason) HAS BEEN ACCEPTED at Ball State. I found this out the day after Ball State dealt Western Michigan University (WMU) a crushing defeat in Muncie and sealed the MAC West handily. Especially pleasant: many of my co-workers went to WMU (my HQ is in Middleville, MI. Sorry, boss and boss's boss's children!).

Now it would be too much to hope that he might major in journalism and get to study in the beautiful new communications building or the Letterman Building (above), but I'll take this little victory. He will definitely get to see the lovely bell tower daily-something that wasn't there either when I got my B.A. in 1980. However, the very familiar winged Beneficience statue remains in her glory, a BSU icon, as does Frog Baby. I'm not especially eager for him to learn the BSU legends about either one of these works of art! But, he'll find out, probably during orientation. Let's just say the more PG-rated of the two legends- the one about Frog Baby- caused it to have to be moved and restored and placed where students couldn't touch it.
And although my little guy turns 18 Saturday and just got his gorgeous orange and black high school letter jacket with his letters for varsity baseball, I have to admit he'll always be my red power ranger. But, I am more than a little excited for him to don the red, white and black of the BSU Cardinals. Send the Legacy Scholarship application stat!