Saturday, May 30, 2015
I obsess. I move from obsession to obsession. Recently I discovered a hobby that hits upon so many of my sensibilities: the pocket letter.
Pocket letters appeal to the following aspects of me:
- I like to make Artist Trading Cards (ATCs).
- I like to share "happy mail" with those I trade with.
- I like organization (despite what my house--and in particular, my craft room--looks like).
- I like to meet new people and to "travel" by corresponding.
There will come a day when I feel just "eh" about pocket letters, but for now it's full steam ahead. So far I've collected and sent around 40. There are dozens of swaps already arranged for the immediate future.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Imagine the chaos of Black Friday shopping. Imagine how those shoppers fight each other for items, sometimes so passionate about purchasing an item that they injure themselves or others in order to take possession of that item.
Now imagine me at my favorite thrift store. I'm usually sifting through piles of nonsense like a miner pans for gold. No one wants what I have. Other shoppers may raise an eyebrow, but they certainly won't fight me for it.
These items are often the lowest of the low. The "as-is" stickers emblazoned on them remind this English teacher of Hester Prynne with her scarlet letter. They are untouchables.
But I see that "as-is" sticker as a challenge. Surely that item is not useless. Surely it's not junk.
Strangely, I find myself buying things that I would never in a million years display in my home. Take folk art, for instance. Those who know me know that my tolerance of cute extends only to babies and animals. I'm kind of creeped out by Christmas decorations that include Spanish moss for hair. I'm not crazy about a face made out of a wooden bead...a face that has no face.
So how on earth did a cute and creepy angel end up in my basket?!
That angel remained tucked among my crafty treasures, without a purpose in life until I joined a key swap. Then she got a make-over:
I decided to use the bottom of the metal box on which to showcase a gold key. I was pleased that the rust on the metal box enhanced the copper color on the angel's sleeve.
Finally, I added the stamped image of a face. I glued the peace blocks to the body, as they were in the habit of moving and then not spelling any particular word. I decided to repurpose the silver star, which had been located on top of the original bead head. And just for a touch of whimsy, I decided to give her a halo made of a metal clock face, to which I added a tiny gold key.
Best of all, I amused myself for the low low price of 80 cents.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Lately, I've fallen in love with circles.There's something soothing about the repetition of that shape. I suppose that's why children love to blow bubbles. That's why they love balloons.
I suppose that's why people can't resist skipping stones (that circular weight in the palm is so satisfying before its released). I suppose that's why a circular pizza seems more appetizing than "artisan" rectangular ones. It's probably why that dopey yellow smiley face is the mascot for the "Have a Nice Day" campaign.
Of course, the shape is feminine. It speaks of cycles: beginnings and endings--coming full circle. It's non-threatening with no hard edges. It's cellular and of the body. It's full moons, candy wafers, the ends of thread spools, clocks, and blood.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Salt and pepper are necessities at the dinner table, and one of those seasonings works well in art applications. Adding salt to a wet watercolor results in some striking patterns. Each color reacts to the salt differently. Other variables affect the end result too: amount of salt applied, what kind of salt, wetness of the watercolor, color of watercolor, and even brand of the watercolor.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
The first year my husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day, I made him an altered book. It was actually before he was my husband--back when we were dating, boyfriend/girlfriend....whatever you call it.
The book contained 26 layouts--one for each letter of the alphabet. I matched each letter with some sort of characteristic I loved about him, or I used the letter as a trigger to write about a memory we had shared.
He went on to use the page layouts in that altered book as inspiration for one of his watercolor shows.
Several Valentine's Days have passed, and for each of those years, I felt a bit of despair that I couldn't replicate that project or go to such great lengths. It just wasn't in me--not because I didn't feel the love. Indeed, every year I have felt more love and adoration. It's just that the project sort of set the bar high and created a creative block.
Fast forward to this year. We dated for one year before he proposed to me. It was another year until we got married. And now we have been married one year and four months.
Tobe lavished Valentine's Day celebration on me the moment I got home Thursday night. He presented me with flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries. Last night, he took me out to dinner at Wild Sage.
I decided to create a card that would hold gift cards for things my husband enjoys. The card idea quickly became a super-sized accordion-fold album with a carrying case.
My intent was to create a found poem that talked about the evolution of how we came to be--who we are as a couple so far.
I set a few ground rules for myself: no hearts, no typical valentine colors, and no store-bought items--only papers I'd painted or made via some technique.
Here's a shot of the first half of the story.
In a case of art imitating life (or vice versa), my love is still sleeping. But when he wakes, I'll present him with this gift.