Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cardboard Harleys

I was checking out WebUrbanist yesterday and saw that the blog post was about art created from cardboard. I always expect to be wowed at this blog but my jaw dropped and hit the floor when I saw the life size Panhead and trike created by Chris Gilmour . Wow, how friggin cool is that?

Not much happening around here, I'm trying to shake the virus I caught just before Thanksgiving and working on a new design. The idea is there, but still working out all the details. I spent the day yesterday making origami boxes for some Christmas presents, if you use art paper it comes out pretty cool.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Wearable Art vessel and bracelet from latest Polymer fabric

I'm getting a little frustrated trying to photograph textured objects. In real life these two pieces look pretty clean and interesting with all the raised pattern, but for some reason the camera doesn't pick up that aspect and rather exaggerates the roughness and makes the work look rather sloppy. I think the macro feature acts as a magnifier and picks up every little nuance. 
I put extra time into making sure a piece has a professional finish and so it bothers me a bit.

I understand that handmade is not going to have the 'perfection' of machined edges, but that certainly is not what I'm aiming for. But I would like an accurate representation of the actual work in my photos, especially since in an online store those photos are the only information a buyer has. So if anyone has any tips on this issue, I'd love to hear them. I do diffuse my light to keep shadows to a minimum and I have photo programs to minutely adjust different aspects, but so far nothing seems to work.

Having said that, I do like this pattern. I think that unusual patterns are interesting and I love the tactile feel of the piece. If I could just get the photographs to relay that then I'd be a happy camper :)


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving post

I once spent Thanksgiving in a laundromat, washing one of two items I owned...I'd panhandled for the quarters and even though I hadn't eaten in a couple days I just had to get clean. I was young and it was the nineteen sixties and I was one of hundreds of thousands of other young people that went out into the world to explore without any means of supporting themselves. I can't say I regret it because I think life is for living, and at the time that was the only way I knew how to get out there and experience the world.

I also remember a Thanksgiving that found my husband and I traveling through Texas on our scoot...I can't remember the name of the little town right off the interstate that we pulled into but I do remember that they had just had a major industrial accident involving their oil wells and everyone there was grateful for surviving.

Then there was our first Thanksgiving on our own property in Alaska. It was like -20 below zero and dark as hades and the generator chugged away while I cooked the turkey in a combo microwave/convection oven and cooked everything else on top of the wood stove.

I remember celebrating Thanksgiving twice in British Columbia, just below Yukon Territories. We had a converted bus with a blown transmission and had to sit in a small town at the edge of the Rockies while we waited for it to be rebuilt. The Canadians have their own Thanksgiving in early October, they enjoy turkey too, but it sure was odd having fries and gravy with it. The people in this town were wonderful. The repair shop gave us a key to their shop (!) and let us stay parked inside the whole time. We met some fellow bikers and were invited to their home for Thanksgiving and there I was introduced to sage as a most wonderful complement to turkey.

Then there was the year that we lost our home to fire on Labor day weekend in Fairbanks Alaska. My husband's boss had given us a wannigan for a temporary shelter (that's a 3 sided porch that acts to keep the cold out when you go in and out of your home in frigid temps). Right after the fire my husband shot a was subsistence hunting for food and that moose is all we ate for the whole winter (he worked seasonal and all our supplies for the winter had gone up in smoke). So it was moose steaks that Thanksgiving but what I remember most is that we had put out snares for rabbit (moose was getting old quick). I went out to check and horror of horrors, a rabbit had been caught and was still alive. I called my husband out and we worked together to set it free...I mean really, it was Thanksgiving and he/she belonged home with their family. You know, we never set a snare again. 

I also remember a time long ago, in a different life when I was younger, of packing up a bunch of turkey sandwiches in waxed paper and driving down into the bowery section of town and finding homeless people to give them to. 

There's a lot more memories like that in this old brain but I guess the point is that Thanksgiving is not just about turkey. It's about being thankful for whatever you have when you have it and knowing that the threads of your life brought you to this Thanksgiving. It's also about being grateful in both times of plenty and times of want...sometimes just having a clean outfit is something to be grateful for. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family and to all of those I may not know but still wish the best for, may everyone find something to be thankful for. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wearable Art post in Born to Harley online magazine

Well, maybe it's a little hard to see, this is as big as I can get to upload here. That's my blog link in the bottom center row. The links change quickly, so I'm glad I got a screen shot.

Really, if they want to see Harley stuff then my husband's website is the place to check out, but I'll take all the publicity I can get for my artwork :) I think they either picked up on the Harley reference in my blog description or the 'chopper' part of my name, but as any artist knows, Italy is sort of a mecca for artists so maybe some Italian biker will think my stuff is cool.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wearable Art

When I was a portrait painter I was aware of how exclusive this art form of painting portraits was; usually commissioned by a family, of a family member and therefore not really available for viewing to others. When I turned to sculpting I wanted to create something that still retained that completely personal touch but was able to be appreciated by a much larger audience. Although I do create some stand alone sculptures, they still are something only appreciated in a home or office. So my solution was to incorporate sculpting into wearable art.

"Wearable art, also know as Artwear or "art to wear", refers to individually designed pieces of (usually) hand-made clothing or jewelry created as fine or expressive art. While the making of any article of clothing or other wearable object typically involves aesthetic considerations, the term wearable art implies that the work is intended to be accepted as a serious and unique artistic creation or statement. Pieces may be sold and/ or exhibited." ( wikipedia also see wikipedia art jewelry ).

I watch the Bravo series Project Runway and have noticed the use of wearable art not only in some of the fashion clothing designs, but also in the fashion accessories worn on the runway. I happen to love animals and thought how well some animal sculptural jewelry would work with some of the designs I saw. 

While researching some Wearable Art collections online I came across the astonishing fact that this is not a new concept (is anything?) and that many famous artists have created wearable art, usually in jewelry but sometimes collaborating with top designers like Chanel. I think that although I wasn't aware of this fact I still knew that this was a known concept, I mean, really, who can see the Art Deco period of design and not know that much of the work there was artist inspired?  And I guess we can take that one step further back and see that perhaps the first jewelry designs were created as art for adornment, and I know that during the Victorian period there were pendants with the eye of a secret person painted on lovely pendants. 

I was particularly excited to see that Salvador Dali had created Wearable Art jewelry! I don't know how this slipped under my radar, I've loved his paintings since I was a child. 

Anyways, this all opened my eyes to the exciting possibilities of (for me) a new art form. Once I had enough work to qualify as collections I joined 1000 Markets to open my own store and not only did I become part of a thriving artisan community, I also got to see some wonderfully talented artist design pieces of Wearable Art, not only in jewelry but exciting textile and woven creations too. 

This is such an exciting time for me...I have a forward path in my artwork that truly gets my creative juices running each morning and I am constantly inspired by the work of others. I truly look forward to the day that I go out to a mall or special event somewhere and have to stop strangers walking by to comment on the fabulous piece of art they are someone who could spend forever in art galleries and museums, I just can't imagine the sensory pleasure of seeing a parade of art walk by in every day cool would that be? 


Sunday, November 23, 2008

My muse fails me at Christmas time

I just don't get it. I truly love the Christmas season (heavy marketing aside) and I'm a sucker for all the cute little things people make for ornaments and jaw dropping beauty of some handmade card designs. But I can't make a Christmas decoration/card/motif that I like for the life of me.

It's not that I haven't attempted a few things...I painted a perfectly round tree with tons of ornaments once (yeah, I know, Christmas trees aren't round, but it was so laden with ornaments it FELT round to me and that's how I painted it). I think I did cards one year when we lived in New Mexico, something with peppers, not really very Christmas-y. 

And ok...I got some glass balls one year and decorated them with glass paint...whoop de do. I want to create something full of Christmas spirit that it'll be a treasure to pull out year after year. But I'm starting to wonder if my muse has a part time job somewhere else this time of year, cuz she's sure AWOL around here.

No problem making gifts for my friends and family though...I pay attention through the year to see what their reactions are to different things I make, so they always get something I know they'll like. But I just feel inadequate when it comes to defining the things I feel during this time of year. 

I have a few artist friends that make the most wonderful very favorite does his in pointillism and I put the collection out each year as seasonal artwork. Funds are always tight here this time of year and it would be nice to create my own cards like that. Painting or drawing isn't the issue, it's coming up with an original Christmas theme. Perhaps my love for Christmas means I've seen it all already?

Well, it's not quite the season yet, and maybe this year I'll pull an elf out of the hat, but just in case you get yet another cute picture of my dog on our card this year, please just write it off to my obvious selective creativity syndrome :D

(....hmmm, elf in a hat?'s been done.)