Saturday, December 13, 2008

New York Recap, Flip book Update, etc.

Last week I took a mini vacation to New York. It was fun, thanks to friends who put me up, put up with me, and showed me around.

I walked around a lot and enjoyed my subway pass and wore a hat and scarf and ear muffs and gloves on occasion.

I went to MoMA's free Target Friday night, where I scrambled to see the following before running out of time:

Rough Cut: Design Takes a Sharp Edge
, which included the video installation of Desire Management by Noam Toran.

The Printed Picture
which was a very interesting history of printing, with lots of good examples explaining terms I've never actually seen a hard copy example to go along with.

George Lois: The Esquire Covers

Dreamland: Architectural Experiments since the 1970s

Batiste Madalena: Hand-Painted Film Posters for the Eastman Theatre, 1924–1928

After that I made it over to the Helen Hayes Theatre to see Slava's Snow Show, thanks to recommendation and accompaniment by Blight Productions and co. I think this might have been those most audience-interactive show I've ever seen. Great use of paper scraps, fluff, balloons and clowns coming off stage.

I ate Thai, Japanese, pizza, crepes, bagels, pasta, diner brunch, sample caviar on crackers from vodka salesgirls, and who knows what else. I felt like most of my trip revolved around walking and eating. Both of which are things I like to do when traveling.

I didn't buy too much, though I picked up some things like fred flare frozen smiles from Urban Outfitters, a couple things from Japanese stores Uniqlo and Muji, and some from Pearl River. I also went through the Union Square Holiday Market, where everyone was set up with red and white tents and I tried some hot German fruity cidery drink and tea and looked at a lot of stuff.

Sooooooooo. That's my slightly dull recap. The trip was good in a relaxed way. Now I've been back to work all week and running around, it already seems long ago, I probably forgot something. Too much to remember lately: I've sent out about 9 packages since I got home.

Printed 25 copies of the election flipbook the other day (that's 125 pages that have to be cut into 1,250 smaller "pages" so we'll see if that happens). I plan to very leisurely begin to assemble those. I did put one each of the laser jet and the ink jet in my etsy shop and will see how it goes up until inauguration time.

Besides the on and off etsy restocking, I have important stuff to work on that I'm doing in dribs and drabs. I've been watching a bunch of Illustrator tutorial videos hosted by Deke McClelland and I gotta say I just love that guy, very much for the goofiness aspect. I love to see people be goofy in such a skilled way that they can't help but be successful. Unskilled goofy people can't get away with such things. Speaking of unskilled goofy people, what I really need to be doing now is learning more Flash because I want to make the election flipbook into a little Flash movie. I think I can do that with what I know so far, so hopefully showing some basic version of that will be my next post.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Polar bears, sardine can, and good karma

polar bear bar

Finally, here's the polar bear bag I made out of a polar bear "tapestry" from 1975. It's put together with a repurposed vintage fake blue fur coat. The lining is a slick/stripey upholstery type fabric. Straps and bottom in canvas. This thing is gigantic, though hopefully useful.

polarbear bag

This is a donation for Art 180's very shortly upcoming Art Karma, which will be held on this Friday, THURSDAY! 12/4/08 from 7-10pm at Plant Zero, $10 admission. So, you can go get it, when you go. I can't go because I will be out of town.

Thanks to Suzanne from Silver Tree Art for gathering donations for a Richmond Etsy Street Team collection of items, including a couple of other small things I put in.

And now for the big announcement:

From this day hence, save me your sardine cans.

Yes, in addition to tape roll tubes, I have another random thing to collect in hopes of using it to make something in particular.

sardine can art interior

This is the sardine can art, which is more or less a variation on my "chunko-scenes" from art*o*mat days. Though now that I did an internet search, I've learned of course I'm not the only one who's thought of using these. In this case I used an empty (clean, clean!) sardine can and set a relief collage inside, then topped with magnifying sheet (still need to find a decent source for these since I've never seen them at the dollar store since 2001). The fun part was turning the can into a "frame" by using a nut and bolt to affix the tab as the hanging mechanism.

sardine can art back

sardine can art unfinished

sardine can art

So there you have it. This sardine can art, titled They won't find another earth, was also sent off as a donation to Art Karma.

* * *

In flip book news, I took a trip to Kinkos and their laser printing is really pretty nice for the election flip book. However, they couldn't do a bleed so part of Obama's arm kept getting cut off. I am currently reformatting the book to allow for a margin and then hopefully I'll invest in getting the nice prints. Then I'll have to do some calculations and actually sell some to recoup the printing costs, because full color on cardstock is a pretty penny. Once I get back from my mini vacation, I'll have to set about getting that in order, tying up some other loose ends and then tackling some major, though not particularly crafty, projects.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ink management, why you won't see McCain's wrinkles, but hey! floating cats

Well, for those who have been asking... here's the update on my Election 2008 flip book....

It's done. Version one anyway. It actually came out much as imagined and I even added a 4th page so there's actually 37 flipping pages and dimensions of 4.25 inch x 2 inch (whereas my standard flipbook is 24 pages and 2.5 inch x 1.25 inch). Even though it took so long to make, I left the "plot" rather simple. I decided against an elephant and donkey running amok (partly because I didn't feel up to trying to draw and then animate them) and I left out any other side stories.

The problem is that I totally underestimated the printing quality I would get and I did stupid things like spend all this time on little tiny details like sweat beads on McCain's head, or Obama's eyebrow moving slightly. And now it turns out it really doesn't print much of the detail at all. At all. I think it's a combination of my low class printer and paper that's a bit too toothy. Considering the scale I'm working in, I totally should have known better. Nevertheless, I'm planning to go to Kinkos or somewhere to see if I can get better quality. (Any advice on this welcome).

Here's the "real" onscreen version:

And here's a page from the book, which shows about as much detail as there is anyway:

I made 3 of the books and one sample flipper and they are now awaiting the grand opening of Bizarre Market's Holiday edition (starting this Friday, Nov. 28th at Chop Suey Tuey, upstairs).

Perhaps I'll get a super detailed print then it can be the deluxe version. I'll probably make more and put them in my etsy shop one way or another.

Also for Bizarre Market, I finished 20 mini Cats In Space. They are ready to hang and will fit pretty much anywhere you have wall space. Each is one of a kind, $15, so go pick one up when you go to the market, which will be open through to Christmas time.


I think this might be one of my favorites because it looks like a little crazy hyped up lazy cat.


This one wants to be friends with Patches.


This one is drunk on star dust.


This one wants to know if the moon is really made of cheese.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Little Cats in Space

I've crossed a couple of things of my weekend to-do list of projects.

One of these was starting a stencil sheet for a new version of cats in space. The original cats in space were painted on wood blocks, but I've decided to make a smaller and more simple style. If all goes well these will debut at the Bizarre Market holiday edition opening Friday, November 28th from 6-9 pm at Chop Suey Tuey. I have other things in the works so there'll be more on that later.


These are made of foam core spray painted black with outer space effects done in oil paint marbling.

So, I've stenciled some in white and plan to go and paint each one individually, of course each cat must have its own personality.


Then I'm thinking I will seal them and make them ready to hang. So essentially they will be smaller, lighter and less expensive versions of the originals.

* * *
Next up is a my attempt to make a new flip book. I've also completed my sardine can and polar bear related projects: I think I'll report on those in a day or two.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Most Beautiful Mouse in the World

white vase with figurines

Quite a while ago, I had a grand master scheme in which I would solve my clutter and pack-rat problems by gluing everything I own together and pretending that made me a folk artist all of a sudden.

I keep revisiting that theme when I realize there are things I want to keep, but unless they are somehow clustered together in some mass object, I really can't justify all the little pieces.

So, I don't think my scheme will take on much momentum because it's really not all that practical... but I did finish one project. It's a vase topped with little animals and others of the glass menagerie variety. I had them glued on here for a while now, but it was just recently that I decided to white wash the vase and make it more of a winter wonderland.

As for these animals... I don't know how to describe it other than that they were such childhood treasures, it would be hard to part with them so I couldn't resist but to affix them somehow on an object less likely to fall through the cracks.

white vase with figurines

This mouse, for instance. Honestly, I not only thought this was the most beautiful mouse in the world... but maybe the most beautiful person in the world, if a mouse was competing in a beauty pageant with a person, she would surely win. I always thought all the other little animals were in love with this mouse.

white vase with figurines

I guess my big plan to pare down and clean up is partially dependent on my being able to somehow morph the thousands of tiny things into something manageable. This is one example where it actually worked. I'm not sure the glue bottle is safe yet, but there's only so much I can keep.

I have some other techniques in mind. But it's slow going.

I'm currently working on some projects, one of which involves a polar bear tapestry from 1975... the other is potentially going to be based on a sardine can... and there's more. So maybe there will be an update sooner than later this time.

* * *

On a side note, how about Dubai's the World? I read about it recently... I forget where, but at the time actually thought it was made up. But it's real. (Where have I been while this was going on?) It's kind of the opposite of what I'm trying to do in terms of clutter, if we're talking on a planetary scale. It's like some giants decided to make sand castles one day and then things went horribly awry. I still don't understand who the people must be who live in your typical rich-person suburban subdivisions, let alone who these people can be who want to live on a man made luxury chunk of sand scrap masquerading as a piece of Australia.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Outside, lately

caterpillar on carrot top
swallowtail caterpillar on carrot tops
these finally bloomed...
someone can tell me what they are, perhaps.
forget me not
ant on forget me nots
forget-me-nots with ant

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm Not Outside Enough


The other day I spent a while doing various "chores" outside, mainly digging to make holes for some potted plants. Oh, I still need to mow the lawn, I just remembered.
Anyway, I've often lamented to myself after forgetting to write down or otherwise remember what I've planted where. With vegetables, it's kind of ridiculous not to know, but with flowers, it's almost fun. For example, I can't recall what the above plant is going to be, but I can see it's getting ready to bloom so it's exciting to wait and see. When I looked closely I saw that little bug on there just hanging out.








Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Push Pins for the Dentist's Office

I finished the set of 10 toothy push pins. The spray painting process makes sense, but masking off the tooth part from the gums is a hassle and gets gunky. With these I ended up doing touch up all over with another shade of pink which was more of a magenta than the original spray paint. I'm working on a set of beads which will hopefully make better use of the spray paint. And I'm going to look for more small push pins I can use for making more of these.

Entering the dental office supply business could probably be quite lucrative.

In other news, I've created a HALLOWEENY section of my etsy shop. I need to restock it with more of the spooky mask goods from last year and then make something else spooky if I have time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

(g)lovely clutch


Well, I finished the project and named it (g)lovely clutch. The auction is taking place Oct. 16th.

(g)lovely clutch

I actually ended up abandoning the inner form which was the salvaged clutch... it turned out to function as more of a "dress form" really, and enabled me to structure the shape of the clutch without having to actually create a second skin for it. (That means I still have the "form" clutch, not that I'm sure I ever want to attempt making such a thing again).

It's very multi-technique and multi-textural, which I guess is typical of my style, especially when experimenting. Techniques include applique, embroidery, various stitches, quilting... Materials include vintage gloves, one dotted swiss shirt, rough silk-type fabric, felt, batting, a fabric covered button, beads, floss.


purse, clutch, gloves, fundraiser

There is also a pair of matching dyed vintage gloves included.

* * *

Next up I'm attempting to make some toothy pushpins for a dentist's wife.


Right now they are unpainted sculpy and look grossly fleshy. I have some white spray paint and I think tomorrow I'll go buy some pink. Usually I paint toothy items by hand, but one of my ongoing goals is for better time management so I think I'm going to try out spray paint for a change. We'll see.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Oh Wouldn't It Be Gloverly...

glov·er·ly /gˈlʌvərli/ [gluhv-er-lee] Pronunciation Key
–adjective, adverb

the characteristic of being a proponent of glove-wearing; one who loves gloves.

slang: The characteristics of one who is prone to act like Crispin Glover.

* * *

I don't know what my problem is. For some reason everytime I start to write a blog, I end up having Audrey Hepburn musical numbers on the brain.

But back to gloves. Earlier I mentioned I had been playing with a box of RIT dye.

Old box of Rit

That was back when I deluded myself into thinking I could take apart a purse with a top closure "kiss clasp" and reuse it... but then I mangled it. So, after some amount of thought, I abandoned that idea.

Oh yeah, and this is the continued purse topic related to the purse fundraiser project It's in the Bag for LINC (Legal Information Network for Cancer).

My idea all along was that I would be using vintage gloves in constructing the purse. Maybe I should have gone with wearing vintage gloves while constructing the purse? Perhaps when Method Crafting really takes off, I'll start wearing period costume depending on my project.

So.... I have quite a few of the vintage gloves from Fannie Rose Vintage left over from long ago when I worked with her, windshine, and bubblecup on our Seven Exquisite Sins wall hanging for the etsy collaboration contest.

I had some white gloves with some discoloration, so I decided to dye everything with the coral RIT.

dyeing some gloves and a purse

I threw in a vintage purse while I was at it. Light over the kitchen sink is reflected in my dye bucket.

gloves that look kind of tasty

So, the wet gloves remind me of raw salmon and tuna, and should be sliced up and put on top of sushi rice. No. They're totally dry now, because I took these photos a while ago. Actually, at this point I've started finishing up the "shaping" of this purse, which is turning out to be a clutch. I did find a thrift purse to use as the innards for this, and there's no clasp involved, though I'm thinking of using magnets for closure. It's going to have a lot of different textures and gloverliness, so I'll post photos when it's done.

P.S. Speaking of photos: my free flickr account is almost full, and I'm considering upgrading to their unlimited pay account. Anyone reading this have any advice or suggestion of an alternative? Thanks.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Seam ripper and faulty cube construction

Without deadlines to prompt me, I'd never get anything done. That said, it's irritating when I decide I must finish something and then I just can't. I tried mightily to finish a set of 3 blocks for the Etsy Kids Challenge. I stayed up too late, picking out the 18 sides of fabric and thinking over possible designs. But then the next morning time went too fast and I totally ran out of time, not to mention the sewing machine decided to hate me.

Here is what I experienced:

# of infuriating balled up messes of thread: 15-20

# of needles broken: 1

# of times I had to re-thread: 10-15

# of totally sewn sides I had to rip out and redo: 3-4

# of times the thread broke while sewing: 5

All was going ok, though I was looking at the time and thinking those Project Runway folk are crazy. But then after all the sewing machine problems, I thought I had the first block done and lo and behold I had sewn the cube together wrong. I don't know how I did it, but it was some sort of rectangular-tube shape. I guess a cube is the kind of thing I thought I could just do without really thinking, and then I sewed the sides together all cockeyed. Well, I had to rip out the seams on those and redo it. And then I had to stop to go to work and I knew that was it as far as meeting the deadline.

So, in the end, I had one complete block. The rest of the prepared pieces for two other blocks will have to wait.

For some reason I felt compelled to adapt Moon River in my head to the occasion although I kept in "Huckleberry friend" because it's bizarre to begin with regardless of having it be associated with a seam ripper.

Seam ripper... wider than a mile
I'm tearing out these sides today
You dress maker, you threadbreaker
Whatever you're ripping I'm watching it fray....
Two sewers off to stitch the world
There's such a lot of world to sew
We're after the same ribbon's end
Hemming round the bend
My huckleberry friend, seam ripper...
And me

I've always wanted a Huckleberry friend.... I think....

And last but not least, from stumble upon Modern Life.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Seed packets, purse, projects to pick

Today, courtesy of stumple upon, I present:

Weird horse quartet
Dirty Car Art Gallery
Hidden Airplane Factory

What are my updates?

Bizarre Market was nice. J. from Monkeydogstudio had saved some tape dispenser rolls for me, that was awfully sweet of her.

I met K., who found a great use for the seed packet books I made. They go wonderfully with the cool mini flower presses she made with kids at the William Byrd Community House. If only I had as many successful vegetable results as I have seed packets.

Now what? I still need to make the purse for the LINC project, but of course I got sidetracked. And then I have til 11:59 pm EST to enter Etsy's Handmade Kids Challenge. I guess that means I should get off the computer and make something now. I had cut out some squares to make blocks, but now I'm not sure where I put them. Maybe I'll see if I can get it together in the next 21 hours.

Photos hosted by flickr.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bizarre Market Reminder

This is just a reminder about tomorrow (Saturday 8/9's) Bizarre Market which is part of Art 180's Jonny Z Festival to be held on the 200 block of N. Shields (not outside Chop Suey Books this time).

I totally meant to take some photos of stuff but I ran out of time. So, this is going to be short. If I wake up and attend you may find the following items:

Little notebooks made with old seed packets
Flip books and other mini books
Something screen printed
Maybe magnets
Flip cat dolls

Hmmmmm... what else. Ok well I'm out of time so I'll have to post a followup afer the fact.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

goodbye to what I don't use and won't miss, if I can figure out what those things are

I always forget to use Stumple Upon, which I have had loaded in the toolbar for quite a while. But I'm thinking I will try to use it more often, just to see what random interesting things I find... isn't that the purpose anyway?

Tonight I found this animation, I love how it's set up on the web page.

En Tus Brazos

I'm having a dilemma concerning screenprinting. Well, I have found that I am not using the materials very efficiently. That is, I mixed up a batch of emulsion a while back and told myself to use it before it went bad (like last time) but now again I have no empty screens and I bet it went bad already. Plus, the one screen I prepared I hid to dry in a closet and one day came home and the closet door was wide open, letting the light in (Yes, I blamed Patches). Now I have no idea if that screen is ruined or not. Then, I was going to try it anyway, but now when I try to print out a stencil on transparencies they keep smudging. I think it is the printer I'm using since my last printer broke.

I've been thinking a lot about streamlining my categories of "techniques" (not saying I'm not going to screenprint), but I have too many potential projects and the materials end up squandered or lost in the mess and then I buy more stuff I don't need or I waste time trying to mess with some new process ONLY because I bought something thinking "Oh maybe I'll use this - oh wait, now I have to spend all this time trying to use this."

So, I'm going to go through my supplies and try again to separate them into categories, and get rid of some things, too, probably by "destashing" on etsy. Just because I haven't done something in years (like watercolors for instance) doesn't mean I'm getting rid of all my supplies, because I know I'm likely to want them as soon as they're gone. The trick is identifying those things that I don't use and won't miss.

I'm presently trying to rustle up some things for this Saturday's Bizarre Market which is part of Art 180's Jonny Z Festival to be held on the 200 block of N. Shields (not outside Chop Suey Books this time). So... I'm currently in a muddle deciding what I should concentrate on getting ready now that my screenprinting plans keep getting ruined. I'm working on a few things, but I don't have much time. There'll be an update later this week.

P.s. I feel I should include a photo, since I usually do, so here's one of a bouquet of carrots I took a while back, with Patches lounging in the background.
carrot bouquet

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kitty vs. Insect prints (part two)

The last time I shared my fabric store purchases, I presented the quandary of choosing between kitty and insect prints. I've now made one flip cat of each.

Look at me!

No, me!

and here's this extra cat who just showed up:
I'm better than kitties or insects!

The gang's all here.