Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Humble Box

Behold....the humble box.
Plain. Brown. Unadorned. Simple.

For some unknown reason I have, over time, picked up a few of these plain Jane containers. I have no idea what I initially wanted them for but they have sat neatly stacked and collecting dust on my studio shelves patiently waiting to be transformed into something spectacular.

A few weeks ago, I needed to create a gift for a very dear friend. As I sat in my studio staring at my 3 muses willing them to beam me a nifty idea, I happened to glance over at my shelves and spotted the humble box. Hmmm.....
The time seemed right to give this meek & ordinary object a new life.

A bit of gesso & paint, some glue and a few scraps of trim, a few tiny wooden finials, a bit of glitter.... the transformation had begun.
But what to adorn the lid? hmmm......
I pulled out some Sculpey and my sculpting tools and set to work.

A bit more gold paint....a small scrap of tulle.....some miniature silk roses....a few baubles....
The transformation was complete.

That plain brown humble box, once the ugly step-sister, was now a lovely Cinderella.
Oh, and my friend totally loved it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tangled up in...Zen? Part Deux

Okay, so perhaps I have piqued your curiosity about the art of "Zentangles" from my previous post...(or perhaps not, in which case just keep reading--I do have a point so work with me here).

Zentangles are surprisingly very easy to do and require very little in the way of supplies: just a Micron Pigma pen (I use a set of 3 with .25 .35 & .45 tips) and some smooth paper. There are no rules, you can do them anywhere, and you are only limited by your imagination when it comes to creating the "fill-ins"--i.e., the lines, squiggles, dots, etc. that you use to fill in the spaces. Really, any dumb little mark looks fabulous when repeated in an organized manner.
Who knew?

"Yeah, but what can you actually do with them?" you ask.
Well, they are, of course, suitable for framing. Centered in a large frame under a wide, over-sized mat, they would make a stunning piece of abstract art for your wall.

Or, here is another idea: scan them into your computer and print them out onto that Shrinky Dink plastic specially made for use in inkjet printers. You can use markers to color the edges to give it some pop. Then shrink in your oven til it lies flat. Add some jump rings, a few beads (Oh! don't forget to punch any holes before you bake it), and a pin back and....

Zentangle pins!
Now I ask you, just how artsy-fartsy chic are these?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tangled up in....Zen?

Eegads.... be careful what you read.
I say that because I have inadvertently fallen into another creative vice.

A few weeks ago, while innocently leafing through my Nov./Dec. issue of "Cloth Paper Scissors" magazine, I came across the article by Sandy Steen Bartholomew where she wrote about journaling with "Zentangles". Zentangles? Cool name. I was intrigued. So I did what the curious do in these technological times--I Googled it.

Seems that "Zentangles" are detailed abstract drawings created through what is essentially an organized form of chaotic doodling using repetitive lines & patterns--the process of which is supposed to be very meditative and put you in a "zen-like" state.
"Hmmm", I thought. Who couldn't use more "zen"?

So I pulled out my Micron pens, some smooth hot-pressed watercolor paper and tried "zentangling" for myself. Wow. Who knew that simple lines, circles & zig-zags repeated in random spaces could be so fun! Yes, it is relaxing but as far as reaching that "zen" state?

Yea....maybe if I include a massage and a margarita.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Three Muses

I love my studio--it's truly my sanctuary.

To the casual observer, it's just a room over the garage with a couple of windows and good light--but to me it's a warm, sunny place where I can do, think, feel, create and be whatever I want. Now how many places in life can you say that about?

The minute I walk thru the door my breathing slows and my heart rate drops. I become centered and very "in the moment" (yea, I tend to struggle with that) and I'm able to think clearly and honestly about the day-to-day stresses that fill up my mind.

And when I sit at my work table, I have three special muses who reside on the wall over my table and tirelessly gaze down on me, guiding me in my creative journey. My muses are very special to me--no doubt chosen because of their influence during my formative years. Each a gifted genius in their own genre, they inspire me daily because I know that they dreamed, aspired, reached, achieved and ultimately succeeded.

They were human--like me. They were mortal--like me.
They breathed, they bled, they cried.
Like me.

Every time I'm sitting at my work table and happen to look up, I see my muses, Al, John & Lucy, gazing back at me. They give me the courage to reveal a bit of myself thru my art. Of course, it never happens without fear--but with the encouragement of my muses, I find I am brave enough to keep on trying.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Peter, Peter, PummKin Prototype

So remember my trusty sketchbook that I blogged about some time ago? (see "The Mashed Potato Files" 1/12/09 post). Well, the other day I was perusing thru the pages looking for an idea to inspire me and came across some sketches that I did early last autumn. Of course, these sketches were very haphazard---I must have gotten a stroke of inspiration while waiting in the dentists office since they were doodled on the back of my daily "to do" list and then subsequently scotch-taped inside my sketchbook. No one will ever accuse me of being too organized.

Anyway, here is the sketch I started out with. As you can see, I started with the basic idea for the head and then added the body/limbs later as my idea evolved. I knew I wanted to use a combination of fabric and wool felt for this doll cuz I love texture--plus, I hand-dye most of my own wool felt so I get some really cool mottled colors.

After a couple attempts, here is the first prototype of my idea brought to life. The face is 3-dimensional--a machine-stitched trapunto technique that I stuff and then hand-paint with acrylics. He stands about 7" tall which includes the hand-painted wooden base.

I'm pretty happy with the results but I most likely will be tweaking some things. I didn't do the exact face as my original sketch, but probably will on the next one. I also want to try some different color combinations, maybe a slightly different body shape and perhaps elaborate a bit more on the costume.

It's still a work in progress.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year - New Day

Happy New Year!
It's a brand new year with new possibilities--and I'm always intrigued by what new and exciting chapters will be written during the next twelve months. I've never been a believer in making New Year's resolutions--big changes don't come easy and knowing myself the way I do, I'd probably be setting myself up to fail and who needs that. But I do like the idea of taking time to sit quietly with a cup of my favorite tea to reflect and dream about the possibilities.

Perhaps with a bit of courage and blind faith, I might even lean into my dreams and see what happens. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Art Is.... continued

While at the Art Is...retreat last autumn, my friend Cate and I also took a mini-class during the evening on embellishing a beautiful piece of handmade felt. Well, it really wasn't a "class" since we didn't learn anything new--it was more like a "let's play" gathering. We each received a large ziploc bag that contained a thick, yummy piece of handmade felt, along with assorted art papers, fabric scraps, beads, wire, etc. We brought our own images, rubber stamps, thread, etc. and proceeded to play. My piece was inspired by the wispy image that Cate cut out of a newspaper.

I call it, "We are all thin Within"