Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Your brought your peeps home, now what?

Once your cute little spring peeps replace their fuzz with feathers, and get to be THIS size, they are difficult to keep in the house. They need to go outside during the day, and back in their screen-top bin at night indoors with us. Not quite old enough to be put in with the hens, yet big enough to be a fuss in the house.

With the week turning wet, I've put off figuring out temporary digs. The green screen is GREAT for sunny days, but no protection for the rain. Today, I've had enough of the noisy, stinky little chicklets. I just couldn't bring them back in. The kids help me cut and tape a fancy little shower curtain to keep them dry on three sides of the pen, added a training roost, and a heat lamp.

Now it's late evening and I'm missing their sweet sleepy chirps and playing nervous new mama, checking on them out the window. They keep looking for me too, and if I go outside they race around the pen peeping at me. The babies want to come inside! I head back out with a blanket that used to be the comforter on my grandfather's bed. Surely THAT will keep them warm and cozy for their first night out?

Next check, the blankie blew off and it's pouring rain suddenly. Chicks huddled in the corner. Sigh. How am I going to sleep with this nervous Nelly action?

Paper clay play

Now that I've learned how to work with paperclay, I eagerly dug into the blog I've had sitting here just waiting. The kids naturally took to forming foil for an armature and pressing the soft paper clay "pancakes" over it, until covered.

Kids are amazing. They may have something in mind when they start, but they are imaginative, with fluid ideas. It's easy for them to shift plans as the creature is formed under their fingers. "It looks more like a troll!" They just go for it.

We let them dry over night and they were ready for paint the following day.

However, they wanted nothing to do with this fussy, slow, layers of paint method, that I'm currently fascinated with. There were calls for "Where's the silver paint!" and " I just need black!"

I squeaked in making a wee birdie.

Coats of paint later..... I have in mind to add feathers, but didn't have any on hand. Would be nice to hang her up too. Or perhaps she needs a looooong pair of legs.

She enjoyed her first trip outside.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Artfest Day Three!

Everyone has been asking me what "trades" are. Artfest, with it's 500-600 attendees, has a tradition of bringing small works or art, small journals, artist trading cards, and charms to trade with others. It's fun.

Here's most of my haul. Everything was so creative and thoughtful: pins, tape to use in your journal, artist trading cards, packs of ephemera, or tiny packs of decorative paper, pins, and all different charms.

Look at the art! There's something delicious about teensy art, isn't there?

I brought 85 trades: printed bookmarks from a slice of artquilt I had made, my silk screened patches (like above) on linen, and a few of these wearable coffee cozies that I brought to give to my room mates and teachers.

Day Three class was Paperclay with Michelle Allen from Portland. We had good day learning how to turn tin foil (armature) and paperclay into fully formed little creatures full of life and personality. She brought tons of paint and materials for us to play with, and was fun and encouraging.

I was interested in taking the class because I haven't done any sort of sculpting in a long time, am drawn to paperclay, and wanted to learn how to make figures look old and rich with paint. Of course anything new I learn, I'm eager to share with my kids, and our friends. Paper clay is so much fun!

Here's my droll bunny figure. Interesting how working with clay, or in dollmaking, you just start working and the doll starts to form itself and tell stories. Mr Bunny has a hanging hook, a heart, and little tiny copper wings in back.

Oh! So how did we create the color? Layers of very thin acrylic paints. Layers and layers, slowly building up color and richness and letting dark browns fill into the cracks.

It was fascinating to learn Michelle's techniques, and I related to her great focus on the face of the creature. That's just everything. If the face doesn't look right, I have to keep working on it until it looks good to me, before I do the rest of the body, or there just isn't any soul in the wee thing.

Wonderful work from other students....... love this guy!

Here's our collection at the end of the afternoon. Look at all the awesomeness!

More paper clay friends!

Fabulous flying birds a classmate made, and plans to hang in her antique bird cages.

Here's one of Michelle's paper clay scenes, set in a box. Two figures on a swing. Completely charming and lovely. I recall her advising us "not to fall into trying to produce these to sell, as we'd never recoup the hours we'd put into them". I imagine so. This is a very slow, rewarding process, but not something that can be streamlined for sale.

My cutie wonderful room mates. First thing in the morning and we weren't really awake or fed yet. Sorry to post this one Girlz, but it's the only one I've got. Miss you!

A view of our bunk house from the commons.

Night walk on the beach. What a lovely setting.

And unexpected thing happened to me during Artfest. I begrudgingly developed a crush on art journaling. My resistance comes from being creative for a living. I keep a personal journal, and fill sketchbooks. I ask myself why would I want to pour time and art into a book that no one sees? After watching everyone art journal for four days, and asking questions I am intrigued.

I bought a fancy bound journal with fabulous paper, at the show, and I cut up a sheet of watercolor paper at the artstore and stitched up a very Teesha style collage journal. I've had a blast collaging and painting away in it. I maybe, just maybe, will scan and post my explorations.

Finished Green Angel Painting on canvas, with machine sewing, buttons, and fabric edge finish.

Spring Gift for Your Mail Carrier?

I made a set of these USPS blue, fingerless, wrist warmers for my mail carrier as a gift, and they were such a big hit at his post office, I put them into production.

Men and Women's sizes in blue to match the USPS uniform. Men's are a little shorter in length and wider in the palm than the women's. Let me know which size you'd like.

Keeps hands and wrists warm, and fingers free to deliver mail and drive. Great for all non-mail carrier professions as well. Photographers, knitters, and typists all like to let me know about their uses for my wrist warmers. Totally machine washable.

Happy spring!


I received tickets to Wicked for my birthday. The show date has finally arrived- tonight! I enjoyed the book, but haven't studied the musical, so it will all be a big surprise for me.

I have a B.A. in theater with my focus being costuming. I love live performance yet don't go often enough. Yey! Theater!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Things

Our new chicklets. Arrow, Shady, and Buffy. They don't stay little long! We have them in a crate in the living room where we can keep them warm and keep a close eye on them. They make constant peep cheep noises, and even quiet little coos. They are always saying something.

When they get all their feathers, they can be moved outside and introduced to the three big girlz.

We found this amazing blooming tree on one of our bike path walks. It's magic....

Look closer. It's paper origami! On first glace, walking by, I really just thought it was a blooming tree. I love surprises like that.

What do we call it? Guerrilla origami?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Artfest day two- the wild portraits class

After much socializing in the commons and 'round the bonfire, being fed in the fab dining hall, and having a blast with the best bunk mates, day two rolled around (or is it day three, since we did arrive on Wed?). Class day two! I took a wild portraits class with the same paint teacher, Roxanne Padgett. Why two painting classes and the same teacher? I can only say I had a feeling about it. And it turned out to be just what I wanted to be doing.

We warmed up with drawing exercises. Roxanne likes us to try out all different sorts of surfaces of paper and fabric, including recycled ones.

That's my new thermos in the foreground. I'm in love with it. Tea time is anytime.

I'm painting away.....

Layers of paint, gesso, writing, collage, stencil, stamp, and a drawn face later, I have abook mark, and a mini portrait. Folks were voting for me to keep this one white, but I feel the need for color. Later.

I was so engaged with the process, not to mention covered in paint, it was hard to stop and take photos, but I got a few. Here's the Tea Time portrait in some of it's layers.....

Painting the actual portrait part on a transparency. I LOVED painting in reverse (see this is the back side) and can't wait to do it again. Anyone have access to used transparencies???

Flip the painting over to see the front side and attatch it to the collage below.

Coming back from lunch break, I was feeling rather serious about what was happening in one of my pieces (we work on 2-4 at a time). I didn't talk about it in class, or that day, but will share now. I'm painting away when this green angel started to emerge. I wasn't planning or thinking anything, just playing with technique, and suddenly she was there, wanting to be shown. This is the green angel that accompanied my father as he passed on this winter (age 60).

He had been talking about a green light in his room, and the more we talked about it, the more he began to see it clearly. It was his angel and she was gorgeous, with blue eyes, and happened to be green. She soothed him during surgery and accompanied him as he passed over. His death was so sad and unexpected, but it was also very beautiful, positive, and wondrous. I'm grateful that I was there. Death isn't sad, it's really just the parting from loved ones left behind. So.......

So THIS angel starts to show up in my collage. This on the left is pic one. She wanted an x-ray hand, which I didn't like, but I put it in anyway. My discomfort with the piece was about wanting so very much to see her, but not wanting to "mess it up". Does that make sense?

Next image of the green angel piece, I used a cut out to paint around the image, to mark out her radiance before I got the guts together to DRAW the darn portrait itself.

Then I grabbed the sharpie and just drew. I didn't think, I drew. Face. Wings. Heart collage. There she is. I was desperate to outline her face with the sewing machine (this portrait was on canvas) and get her to stand out more. Roxanne suggested use of her water soluble crayons, which did the trick. See the blue outline?

After I was home for a few days, and showing what I made, I realized every single thing I did had hearts in it, and hearts with holes in them- often three. My dad died from the results of a series of heart attacks and had surgury that put stints in. Three. Art, or to be more humble, the act of creating is also the act of revealing one's unconscious and putting it into form. Espeially when we get our brains out of the way.

I finished sewing on her when I got home and really like the piece. Creating is really scary and exhilarating sometimes. I'll get a good photo to post tomorrow.

This is one of the typical buildings at the fort. All stately and painted white. It really was a great location.

OH! Don't let me forget to tell you all about "trades" tomorrow. That's one of the great Artfest traditions. I brought 80 things to trade! I'll take a photo of the trades I received.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Have you heard of Artfest? It's like a summer camp for grown ups, all about art and friends, and hosted by Teesha and Tracy Moore. I've wanted to go since I heard about it two years ago, so last winter I signed up! If you haven't seen Teesha's blog, you are in for a treat. Super prolific artist, and all around fun creative person, with a fab studio.

The trip started with a journey to Seattle by train! I met up with some fun Artfest goers who kindly gave me a ride across the ferry to Bainbride Island and up to the Fort at the top.

I haven't taken a ferry anywhere in years. I was surprised how fast the ferry went! It was a smooth ride. Windy and gorgeously sunny.

Artfest is held at an old army fort. Great location, nestled in the woods and right on the beach. Gorgeous little towns on the Olympic Peninsula. We have room mates, yummy food 3x a day, and there's planned activities every night-- bon fires, wild art journal gatherings, and moonlit walks down to the beach.

Here is the mini castle at the fort.

There's me enjoying some much-needed sunshine and fresh air right on the beach. Early Spring in Washington, we'll take all we can get.

The first day, I took Lush Layered Canvas with Roxanne Padgett. We had a GREAT time painting. I've been dreaming about painting on fabric lately, making my own prints to use in my work. I set myself up for two full days of painting with her and had such a great time.

Here she is about to cut up our communally printed cloth. Everyone used this to (artistically) wipe off their excess paint all day. Look at the results! Roxanne cut it into strips and we each got to take one home.

She's wearing the cuff/coffee cozy I made out of my favorite linen scraps and a new silk screen print.

We had a whole table to ourselves and were careful not to get paint on the gorgeous floor of the USO hall. Neat space.

I had a wonderful time in Roxanne's class. She is a great teacher, lots of fun, and gave us plenty of her personal attention and ideas. I was grateful to get to pay a materials fee, rather than haul a zillion bottles of paint. She was very generous in sharing with us.

Here's one of my layered pieces. Print, stencil, paint, writing, paper collage, crayon rubbings, and what else? A little soul perhaps......

This one was my favorite of the four large panels I finished. I can't wait to cut them up and sew something!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Giant's House

I haven't been to New Zealand, but when I do (some day), I'll want to stay at this B&B called The Giant's House. It's grounds are filled with mosaic-ed gardens and fountains. I adore this sort of sculpture.

Sorry I couldn't make the photos larger. I'd like a closer look myself. I do know those figures are all big enough for a grown up to sit in their lap and look child-sized!

Look at the fun rooms you get to stay in. What interesting dreams one may have here....

Dancers or acrobats along a fence.

Gorgeous gateway. I want to learn how to make these!

Here is the adorable artist and owner of the Giant's House. She offers art classes at the house, where there's a cafe and gallery. I'd love to visit! Very inspiring.