Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas is what you make it

Christmas is where you find it--and what
you make it
 Trina Schart Hyman was a single  mom who had her share of lean times as she persued her illustration career. One of my favorite books of all time is Trina Schart Hyman's How Six Found Christmas.  I love the concept of finding Christmas in an abandoned wine bottle and of making Christmas out of almost nothing.

I suspect there will be many people this year who are wondering how to make Christmas happen with empty pockets.

I promised some interviews with artists who will be on the Vashon Island studio Tour. I haven't forgotten. I just haven't had time to put my thoughts together!

Next post will be about Brian Fisher, print artist and oil painter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Studio tour:Purple Butterflies Scarf

Purple Butterflies Hand Painted Silk Scarf
This may be the last silk painting I do for the Tour. I'm running out of time, and man! I need to clean, organize, and decorate the studio! I just brought home all my watercolor paintings, mono-prints, and silk paintings from the show at the Vashon Community Care Center-100 images in all--and I've no place to put them!

One dear man bought one of my watercolors. I gave it to him for about half price, because I suspected he didn't have a lot of money, and he was so happy! Now he wants me to help him figure out where to hang it in his room at the Care Center!

I didn't expect the show at the care center to be a big seller; it was more to give people something cheerful to see and talk about, and to get everything up on the wall. People came up to me at the grocery store and on the street to tell me they had seen my show, and how much they enjoyed it! Probably more people saw this show than would have seen it anywhere else in town.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Art Studio Tour: Valerie Willson

I visited Valerie Willson in her studio a few days ago and found her doing--encaustic!

Valerie  is one of the few artists I know who makes her living as an artist. I knew her first as a print artist and oil painter, who set up the studio where I learned so many mono-print techniques. I love her vivid colors and organic shapes. Her work is elegant and beautiful.

 On Valerie's work bench I saw the brushes she uses, the wax colors, the heating plate, a heat gun. Valerie's walls were covered with intricate images printed on tissue, which she is incorporating into her encaustic (wax painting) work--some of the same images I have seen worked into her paintings.

"I have a library of around a hundred block prints," she explained. "When I sit at shows and art festivals, I carve them in "easy cut" and try to see how intricate I can make them."

Valerie's work has a unity, due partly to the vibrance of her colors, and partly to the way she uses these block prints in new ways in every medium she is working in.

I love this idea, of developing an...an iconography...an unique imagery... that sets one's work apart and defines it. I've already begun looking at my own work for images that I can develop in this way.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blame it on the Snow

Four scarves dyed shibori fashion.
 I will add images to some of them later
Blame it on the snow. I had planned to post a profile every Monday on one of the artists I interviewed for a newspaper article on the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour. This Monday it snowed. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know what even a little snow can do to our roads. I did manage to make it home safely Monday (my brakes failed on the ice coming down my hill), but totally forgot the post I promised. Then the power went out. Snow Days!!

I love snow days. It's quiet, and no one expects you to be anywhere. I burrowed down into my studio--well, actually I moved my studio upstairs where it was warm enough by the fire and light enough by the window to work while the power was out. No computer, no radio, no refrigerator noise. Just golden silence, and the occassional sound of a car sliding sideways down the icy road.

So here's some of what I did instead of the post I had promised. I'll post an interview tomarrow with Valerie Wilson. I'm already using some of her inspiration as I develop new images for scarves and silk paintings.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Holly Daze Bazaar

You should have seen the little girls smile when I asked if they like fairies and told them my xmas ornaments were fairies! I didn't know they were fairies myself, until another vender told me that's what they looked like to her!

Another vender lent me the tree branch to hang them from. Friends lent me the screen and the table cloth, and posed for my scarf models. People couldn't help smiling when they saw my models. Altogether it was a great experience, lots of fun, and I even made money!

It was a far cry from my first experience, when I sold nothing. I didn't do the bazaar for years after that, because I was afraid of another disappointing experience. What I didn't know at the time was that it is about the conversation, the interactions with people. That's where the fun is, the value--and creating interactions can also create sales.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The impossible Garden--Presist and Prevail

Next year I want roses blooming in the bed I just created. Little bit by little bit, I am creating my garden, my art, my life.  Sometimes it all seems like too much. Other people's needs take my time and energy, or I just plain get discouraged. So I've adopted the mantra, "persist and prevail".

Anything one does in this world is fraught with competition. Too many people are already doing the thing I want to do, and getting noticed seems like an impossible task. Have you SEEN how many people are doing hand painted silk scarves? How many are doing fabric design (another big idea I had)? How  many people want to write  children's books and be published (a looong time dream of mine)?

Persist and prevail.

My writing teacher, my mentor, Alice Orr, gave us a lesson on being
published. You make your work the best. You send out submissions.
You get rejected, "blooded", says Alice. You send out more
 submissions. You persist until you prevail. You don't give up.

And I would say, you hold the vision. You prepare the beds and you keep in your mind the vision of the roses you want there. You send the submissions, and you file the rejections and keep sending out the submissions, and you keep the vision of being published. You send out examples of your art in what ever medium you are working, and you keep sending out the art,  and you keep the vision of having your work accepted for licensing, or of developing a loyal base of people who like your work enough to buy it.

Persist and Prevail.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ornament Exchange: Two more!

Two more ornaments came from my Flying friends ornament exchange!

 This one is from Kris Johnson, Manitowoc, WI. The bell introduced itself with a jingle before I ever opened the package! Thank you Kris!!

It has the feel of an old fashioned Christmas!

This sweet little snowman is from Dayle Achatz Micoff of Chelsea, MI. He has "buttons" down his back as well, and looks like he is ready to party! Thank you, Dayle!

 Dayle does Curlie Girlie  personalized jewelry and design. Check out her some of her jewelry here.

The ornaments are, of course resting on one of my hand painted silk scarves.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shibori Technique: Itajima with Terri Fletcher

Silk scarf tied in the Itajima fashion for dying
and scarf dyed in that fashion
Shibori is a Japanese process of "tie dying" silk, a process I use on my silk scarves. Itajima is a particular type of shibori, where a solid shape such as a circle of wood is pressed onto the cloth to keep the dye from penetrating in certain places. Terry Fletcher uses a cirle or square of smoothed plexiglass, held in place by two pieces of wood tied together tightly, to make an undyed circle or square.

The scarf in this photo has been dyed the lighter orange, then  folded and tied in the manner shown, with a plexiglass circle. The bundle is then dipped into the darker dye, leaving the lighter circles.

8 of 80 Souls
Sometimes Terri cuts shapes from foam core (used in framing paintings) to make the shapes that block the dye. In the piece at the right, 8 of the 80 souls, she discharged the black dye, potecting the areas to remain black by covering tightly with foam pieces cut in the frame like shape.

Sometimes Terri adds beads, buttons, or sewing, or  dyes on paper instead of cloth. Lately she has started adding a layer of encaustic to some of her work, to add a sense of translucence and depth.

What intrigues her? The rythm of shapes repeated,  she says, and the technical aspects of the work.

Miniature Wood Chair by Karen Hurst

Terri Fletcher's Studio will be on the Vashon Art Studio Tour the first two weekends of December 2010. Karen Hurst, who spins and does wood working will be joing Terri, along with Nadine Edelstein, who does smalti tile and jewelry. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

December Art Studio Tour

I'm going to be on the Decemeber Art Studio Tour! I know I may have mentioned this, but this is exciting, and I am terrified. You know, the way you are so scared you block everything out so that you don't KNOW you are scared, but you don't get anything done, and suddenly it is tomarrow and you aren't ready?
Well, I'm approaching that.

Brian Fisher
Kasia Stahancyk

Valerie Wilson and encaustic painting in progress
Instead of getting my  own stuff ready, I've been interviewing other artists who will be on the tour, like Brian Fisher, print artist, Valerie Wilson, who paints, prints, and is now doing encaustic, and Kasia Stahancyk, who does glass fusion and also sews.

During the next few weeks, I will be letting you know about each of these artists, how they work, alnd what I'm learning from them. Look for posts on artists on Mondays.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ornament Exchange: First one received!

I recieved my first ornament from the Flying Lessons Ornament Exchange! This one is by Rebecca Everett, and she included a lovely business card and label. Isn't she  sweet! Both of them, I mean, the ornament and Rebecca!

Even the box she sent it in was lovely!

Thank you, Rebecca!

Monday, November 8, 2010

From the Trenches: Kathy Pine jeweler

The beads are Kazuri beads from Kenya, crated by 400 single mothers working for fair wages in a happy social environment. The wire, woven, braided, or made into chain mail , is mostly reclaimed silver,  not ripped from the earth in gigantic silver mines. 

The beads are from Kenya
Kathy Pine creates WorldWise Jewelry in a studio at the end of a long narrow country lane on an island near Seattle. 

One wall of Kathy's studio is lined with books and magazines on jewelry making. She is self-taught. She showed her work and sold casually until about a year ago, When retirement gave her the opportunity to turn work that she loves into a business. 

What are some things that are working well for Kathy?
* a professionally designed web site (its been up about 6 months)
* photos of her jewelry in natural locations to emphasize how their creation reflects care for the earth
*a coach who has extensive experience in creative businesses and contacts among the rich and famous
*an onlline shop site, again professionally designed

Kathy will be on the December Studio Tour on Vashon and has invited six other artists to join her. With all the people the artists invite and lots of goodies, Kathy expects to draw a good number of visitors, even though her studio is at the far end of the island--as far from the center of action as the size of the island will allow!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Words from the trenches: Lisa Stubbs illustrator

Post image for Illustrator Lisa Stubbs shares her online world
It's always good to hear from artists in the trenches. Lisa Stubbs is an illustratior with both an etsy shop  and  a folksy shop. Here are some of her words on marketing, from Artonomy:

Out of all the things you do online to promote your work, which has been the most useful or worthwhile?
That’s difficult to say as they’re all linked, I’d say my blog as a platform leading to other links, but my Etsy shop has been wonderful at attracting interest abroad, people come to look at the blog who have bought items from the shop first. So I’d say my blog and Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Late for Day of the Dead

Generally I'm not too keen on skulls and such, so day of the dead leaves me...cold. Not interested. I like the idea of taking time to remember loved ones who have gone, but please, not with skulls.

Until I saw this one by Theresa Huse. Maybe it's the butterfly, or the scarlett line around the figure, or the gold here and there, especially in the butterfly. Or the flowers. Or the skull in profile with a flower hat.

Whatever it is, something about this painting gives me a new perspective on Day of the Dead images. Maybe next year I will try one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teaching Artist eclass with Laura Hamor

Wish Fish
I'm on the road to making my dreams come true!

I'm taking Laura Hamor's ecourse on teaching art in schools, museums, and libraries. The first assignment: being clear on what I want. I drew and decorated these fish and wrote my wishes on them. I will hang them in my studio window.

Here is what I wrote:
On the top fish
I am doing artist residencies in schools all over the state, the Northwest, and beyond!
I am teaching in schools, museums, and libraries all over the Northwest
I am making a good living as an artist and writer
On the bottom fish
I am deepening Children's and adults' understanding of themselves and the world around them through art and story
I am giving children and adults tools to create their  lives in Beauty and Compassion

Monday, I made another step in the direction of these wishes: I contacted Family Link, our school district's interface with home-schooling families, and proposed some classes for home-schooling children. The classes were well received by the first gate keeper. Next the proposals need to go to the teachers working in this program and the parents. Classes will be taught in the winter quarter and in the spring.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ornament exchange

My ornaments for the exchange I am doing with friends from Kelly Rae's Flying Lessons class are done!! And in the mail!

They are little pieces of hand painted silk, wrapped around a wooden ball and trussed with gold string (or red lace or green yarn in some cases). They were simple to make, though many of my fingers turned into thumbs when I tried to attach the gold string. I may make a bunch more for the Holiday Bazaar on November 20th.