Monday, October 22, 2012

Blooms and Balloons

The weather here in Snohomish has been extra-dreary as of late, probably Nature's way of making up for the glorious Indian summer we had earlier this month. On Sundays in August and September and this year, October, the hot air balloonists over by Harvey airfield usually send their balloons up during happy hour. They surprised us one Sunday morning by floating a hot air balloon over the neighborhood.

But right after that, the weather turned sour... sour I tell you. So I have been obliged to get out some reference books and try my hand at making ribbon flowers just to add a little color back into my life. This one came from A Passion for Ribbonry, by Camela Nitschke.

Of course, her sample was made with a beautiful green to fuchsia gros grain ribbon. Mine is a fantasy-from-an-alternate-universe colored.

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Word: Digital Publishing. Oh Okay, That's Two Words...

This week I am embarking on a new certificate program at the University of Washington. This one is in Digital Publishing and lasts three terms (a full school year). I know some of the information covered in this course already, but there are gaps in my knowledge about certain processes and it's those gaps I want to fill. Like marketing, e-publishing formats, and scrounging up creative help. I love the idea of writing and creating eBooks of my crafty projects, but I want to branch out into producing craft eBooks for other artists. And I'm thinking of expanding my publishing services to include other types of non-fiction like self-help books. Then fictional pieces, maybe short stories or anthologies. I see all of this as a natural segue from hard-core corporate IT to publishing the kind of artistic content I'm keen on exploring.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Equinox, Katzenjammer Kids!

So another season has passed and a new one begun. I rose early this morning because Snicklefritz wanted to go out pre-dawn and as we have large critters in the neighborhood whose favorite pastime is to eat smaller critters, like cats, I wanted to make sure he was okay out there in the dark. I'm currently prototyping a boat hat like the one Marie Antoinette wore and have called in the big guns to help with the mast. By big guns, I mean my friend JoAnn, who spent 23 years in the Navy. In case you're wondering who the Katzenjammer Kids were...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Steampunk Tempest Regie Buch

During my first term at Stony Brook University I was tasked with creating a Regie Buch of a show I would like to direct. The first play that came to mind was a sort of Lolita Goth version of Middleton's The Changeling, but then, after much thought about the impracticality of transposing a Jacobean Revenge Tragedy to a Lolita Goth setting and how it would seem ludicrous and funny looking to an audience unfamiliar with that odd assortment of fashion statements, I landed upon a Steampunk version of The Tempest.

A Regie Buch is a director's book chock full of visual and literary notes on a project; it will include things like French scenes, phrased scenes and a spreadsheet breakdown of scenes, special effects, audio effects, lighting notes and other technical considerations.
Here's a sample of a phrased scene - all technical theatrical stuff I might pontificate upon at a later date.

A Regie Buch can be used to show designers where you want to go visually with your production and sets the tone of the play.

It can also include breakdowns of characters. Here are collages of what I thought was going on in Prospero's mind:

Here were my thoughts on some of the rest of the characters: Ariel, Miranda, Caliban, Fernando, Gonzalo and the drunkards.

I also included ideas for set design and costumes. I thought it would be cool to have a ship that broke away as it was being destroyed by the tempest.

And on the inside of the back of the notebook cover...

Return to "This is Stonehenge"

It started innocently enough. A group of Mini Cooper enthusiasts getting together on a Saturday morning in July to take a drive together down to the Columbia Gorge.

At the meet up location we all ooohed and ahhhed over each other's Minis. I particularly fell in love with a Mini that changed colors! In the morning it was a warm, coppery, cognac-y brown...

But by the afternoon, it had turned a mossy green...

We drove highways I'd never been on before...

and arrived mid afternoon at the Stonehenge Memorial at Maryhill on the Columbia Gorge. Of course, we had to celebrate with a picture of our precious babies lined up all purdy-like around Stonehenge (obviously!)

The Maryhill Stonehenge is a memorial to the soldiers who fell during the Great War. Sizewise, it is a full-sized, astronomically correct replica of the original on the Salisbury Plain.

The Columbia River (called the Columbia Gorge here) is the demarkation point between Washington and Oregon; that's Oregon on the far bank.

It's an area of Washington State that is high desert, and a perfect location for wind turbines. I love wind turbines. I know whatshisname Trump hates 'em, but I love 'em.

Here's the Stonehenge Memorial from an adjacent bluff at 6 a.m. the next morning. Glorious!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dizzy Bizzy Because I'm Made of Crazy, That's Why

Oh God Almighty, I've been bizzy bizzy bizzy these past few weeks working on a possible book project. I've pretty much finished the book proposal and am now playing catch up getting pictures shot of some of the projects for the book.

I've been creating prototypes of shoes, hats, purses, faery wings and my brain is swimming with details of such. I find myself doodling ideas on envelopes, receipts, paper bags and napkins, anything papery, actually, as I muddle through this process.

The Antiques Roadshow videotaped their Seattle show here in August. I went with my friend Katharine who is a hella-great Calligrapher. Participants were allowed two objects each: Here's one of mine, an Art Nouveau amphora vase brought over from Odense, Denmark by my grandmother when she moved to America in 1919.

Yes, that's me, the pudgy one...
The appraiser loved it and said she thought it might be Austrian, possibly from the Tepplitz-Turn area of Bohemia. I thought the bloom on the front of my vase might possibly be a poppy seeing how it might have been manufactured during the Great War. She suggested I research it further. I did so and now think it isn't Austrian, but Swedish, made by the Rorstrand company. There's a book out by Bengt Nystrom and the book's cover has a vase with a similarly-shaped opening.

On an unrelated note, we held a yard sale this weekend to get rid of clutter, make a few bucks and meet lots of neighbors and local folks. Luckily, a lady who runs a second-hand store that gives all its proceeds to feed homeless children stopped by and offered to take whatever we didn't sell for her shop. She was a Godsend because I was dreading the idea of having to load up both Mini Coopers with stuff to take over to the Goodwill in Monroe after our sale. She showed up at around 5 p.m. with a big truck and hauled it all off! Whew! A total win-win situation because that stuff was NOT coming back inside the house. Nope. Never. Finito.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sun Printing out on the deck

The past few days have been so sunny here in Snohomish that I decided to do some sun printing with a Setacolor Soleil kit I'd found at Dharma Trading a few years ago. I wasn't sure if the paint was still any good, but thought I'd give it a shot.
What prompted all of this was about the same time I picked up the sun printing kit, I found 6 ultra-cool stencils in the shape of hands on the clearance table at Zenith Supplies in the Roosevelt district. If you have never been to Zenith Supplies, your life is incomplete. They have all sorts of essentail oils, incenses, new-agey foldarol that you will find you cannot live without. Same goes for visiting the Dharma Trading website. I have been buying art supplies from them for over 30 years.

Anyhoo, the stencils were originally meant for using with henna, but I thought they would work just fine for sun printing some panels of fabric.
I slipped a garbage bag over a long piece of cardboard and laid it out on my ironing board. I placed a piece of 12 inch by 45 inch white cotton (or linen - I can't remember what it is...) fabric on top of that and wetted the fabric down with a water mister.
Then I chose three paints to work with - the blue, yellow and fuschia and mixed them up 1 part paint to 2 parts water.
I slathered the paint onto the fabric sort of higgledy-piggledy, then placed the stencils on the paint.
I set the whole shebang out in the very bright sunshine on the deck and waited about 45 minutes for the fabric to dry.

Here's the result of the first try:

Not too bad, all considering. For my next piece I mixed the hand stencils up to see what that would look like; I actually like this design much better.

So here are my four sun-drenched panels!

I plan on incorporating at least one of them into the border of a sleeveless blouse. Maybe the yellow/pinkish one...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rumi Ornaments Tutorial

A few years back at Christmas-time someone gave me a calendar with poems from the Sufi poet Rumi. The calendar had 12 pages of short poems accompanied by beautiful imagery of oriental carpets and middle eastern artwork. I kept the calendar after the year ended; such beautiful artwork needed to be saved for some special crafty project.
The other day I was wandering around JoAnn's Fabrics (as I generally do) and came upon a scallop-edged Squeeze Punch made by Fiskars. I counted the number of scallops around the circumference of the punch and realized there were 15 - easily divisible by three. Whoo Hoo! An idea sparked in my mind - I could use the punch to create three-dimensional ornaments out of the calendar images.
At home I dusted off my Rumi calendar, cut out some of its pages and started punching scallop-edged circles like the mad woman I am!

Each ornament requires 20 circles, but I found that a couple of the designs on the calendar pages weren't large enough to accommodate that many circles so I punched a few extras out of the parchment-colored plain portions so I could write out portions of Rumi's poems in my chicken-scratchy (read that as non-calligraphic) handwriting.

Working on another ornament, I realized the punch created a lovely medieval-esque arch design out of the leftovers. Note to self: file that baby away for a future project!

The next thing to do was fold the scallop-edge circles into triangles. Remember the punch has 15 scallops? That means each side of the triangle equals five scallops, so it was super easy to fold them.

The ornaments are essentially two segments of five triangles each flanked by a middle section of 10 triangles.

I created the top of each ornament by glueing five triangles to each other, then left that to dry as I worked on glueing the middle bits together. They're stuck together in a sort of zig-zag configuration. As anyone who knows me knows, when I even get close to glue it somehow spreads out and mysteriously ends up on everything within a five mile radius. I swear I don't know how it happens. That's why I used Elmer's transparent school glue. It (and everything it's stuck on) is washable.

Here's a shot of one ornament almost completely assembled:

And here are a trio of finished ornaments. I added a tassel to each one by attaching them to a string I threaded through the body of the ornaments, then slapped a couple of large fire-polish beads on top in accent colors.

Oh by the way, here's that ornament with the Rumi poem on it.

The entire poem reads:
I see my beauty in you,
A mirror that cannot close its eyes,
A moth caught in flame's allure.