"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Astronaut's Courtesan

She always worried about him, alone, way out there is space. Sometimes she wouldn't see him for months and months, but she didn't mind waiting. While he was gone, she took other lovers, but he was always her favorite, her special one.  The others brought her flowers or jewelry. None of them had ever brought her rocks from the moon, or rings from Saturn.

This is a collage I did years ago, when I was first experimenting. It's still one of my favorites. Only thing I would change is the signature placement. I use a cartouch now, and that would fit in better.

"Trickster's Hat" Lesson 3

This is lesson 3 from Nick Bantock's book "The Trickster's Hat." It is supposed to be a landscape. I decided mine ended up looking more like detritus washed up on a beach. Because of that I cheated a bit. None of the stamps could be used for what was actually pictured = a tree couldn't be used as a tree. But I couldn't resist using the leaning capitol dome, buried to its pillars with trash, to finish my lesson.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mixed Bag Wednesday

Here are a few updates on things I have been working on, and a new journal project. Also, a bit about the Nick Bantock book The Trickster's Hat, which I just bought, and am looking forward to playing around with the 49 creative exercise challenges he writes about.  Here we go.

First, the Drunken Spider Vest. I have pretty much finished the web part...I think. I will add more beads as time goes on. I still need to find little bugs to add to the web, and a nice spider pin for the center. I have also started beading around the armholes, and will bead around the neckline.

This is all done in back stitch with either embroidery floss or doubled quilting thread.

Next is a photo of three of the many hair ornaments I have done lately. I sold several of these at a recent SCA event, and got lots of positive feedback, so that made me feel good. I was attempting to rig a quickie light box by holding a white sheet of paper behind the ornaments, but with dubious success. Light box is still on my "to do" list. The wire is either hammered copper, aluminum, or steel. I really enjoy making these and unless I add vintage pieces to the prong, I can keep the price fairly low. These three would have gone for $10 each.

Moving right along...

I bought Nick Bantock's book The Tricksters Hat, mainly because I love anything by Nick Bantock, but also because it was a play book for creativity. By play book I don't mean a list of tunes from the local radio station, I mean play...as in get out in the dirt and build a town with whatever you can find (yes, that is one of the lessons). I am not going to go into detail because I would much rather you bought the book ( I imagine Nick would rather you did as well). All I am going to do is give the lesson number and post a photo of what I did. Maybe it will pique your interest enough to go see what the fun is all about. I hope so.

So, this is a photo of lesson one. The lesson only involved the two 1"x1" boxes, the rest of the doodles I did on my own 'cause I was having way too much fun to stop.

Lastly...and you might want to sit down for this one, since I have posted many times here how unsuccessful I am at this...I am starting another journal. Now, before you scoff (and you would have every right, considering my past stalling out with previous journals), this one is a bit different. I put a limitation on it, mainly so that I wouldn't get bogged down and too serious. The journal itself is small, only 5 1/2" by 4 1/4", so I can't get too carried away. It was a thank-you gift given to me last October. The cover is actual vellum (sheep skin) and the pages hand bound. It has been sitting on a shelf in my "studio" ever since it was given to me. However, with this new spur from my Nick Bantock book, and the fact that I really do like journals, I am giving it another go. Here are the limitations: I can only pick one thing from the day to write about, and the artwork must be quick and small. Actually there is a third limitation...the artwork must be done within 15 min. The reasoning behind this is that, with my previous journals I would start out gangbusters with wonderfully complex pages...then slowly lose interest because they took too much time. Also, my handwriting is ghastly and my spelling worse (which I am going to ignore) With this small journal, I am forcing my brain to KISS — Keep It Simple, Stupid!

I did the first page yesterday, the day after the lunar eclipse, which I thought a good omen for starting something new. I stayed up until 2 am watching the magic of it, and even woke Robert up from a sound sleep at 1 am because I couldn't bear the thought that he would miss it all. I think he was grateful, but he was still half asleep, so it was hard to tell.

The last photo is about the farrier coming to trim the horse's hooves this morning. The number three is because we have three horses. Sorry for my finger in the picture, but the journal doesn't lay flat so I had to hold the page open.

Again, the main focus of this journal is to keep it quick, simple, and not overworked. Besides, my days aren't all that exciting, so for today, the fact that the farrier was due was sorta the high point. Endless entries about where I go (pretty much nowhere), how I worked the horses, or did blah, blah, blah, is what got me bogged down before.

So that is Mixed Bag Wednesday, with lots of fun stuff to look forward to all summer.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Idea And Its Source

For years I have loved and collected books by the artist and writer Nick Bantock, best known for his Griffin and Sabine series, but he has done other illustrated books as well. Two of my favorites are The Venetian's Wife, and The Forgetting Room. The other day I discovered his FB page, which I dived into like Alice down the rabbit hole, scrolling through older and older posts of artwork, creativity advice, limericks, and artists tips on process and tools. But what he also does on this FB site, along with posting his artwork, is to tell short stories to go with some of the pieces. Intriguing little snippets that pique your interest and make you look at the art a bit closer.

I loved the concept and thought it would be a great way to give myself writing prompts, while also encouraging me to do more artwork — something I've been trying to get back into for months. Granted, I'm no Nick Bantock, but I thought it would be fun to play with his idea, so, periodically I will post a piece of my own work and make up a very short little story to go with it. I hope to have my first piece up by next week.

It might make a nice change from the stitching, beading, altered clothing, jewelry and horse stuff I usually post. Which brings up another thing I am changing...again. I'm going to reboot my horse blog. I've been posting a lot of horse stuff on FB, and a little of it here, which not everyone is interested in. With a new horse at our barn and lots of equine activities planned for this summer, it seems like a good idea go back to Equine Madness for all of that. If you're interested, there is a link under my header.

Hope you'll stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Two Quick (Sorta) Rainy Day Projects

Yes, it was another day of rain. For a change of pace from stitching I decided to work on jewelry instead. This is all part of an ongoing endeavor to upgrade my jewelry pieces before reopening my Etsy shop. Although this new necklace may be a keeper, as it matches my green Italian Renaissance dress beautifully.

The main focus of the necklace is a vintage brooch I have had for a few years, but couldn't seem to find the correct color of green stones to match. It is a beautiful, deep, emerald green. It wasn't until recently that I stumbled on a string of glass beads at JoAnn's that matched the old stone perfectly. I kept the necklace pretty simple, since I wanted the old brooch to be the focal point, and also because it is so over-the-top ornate, adding anything else would have been severe overkill. I also worked it so that the brooch can be removed from the necklace and worn as originally intended. The pin back is intact. I think I am going to get some of those small rubber ends for wire earrings and put one over the point of the pin back, to keep it from snagging on material or poking the wearer. I have several other old brooches to use for pendants that I will make detachable as well, so those little rubber dudes will come in handy.

The earrings were originally part of the necklace, but I didn't like the way they looked next to the brooch, so I took them off and used them for earrings. I personally would never wear the earrings and necklace at the same time, since I don't do "matchy-matchy" but I have had some customers not buy a necklace because it didn't have matching earrings.

The next little piece was made from a skull that dangled from an old key chain. I have no idea where I got it, but I suspect it was in a stash of broken or mismatched bits either given to me, or that I bought by the bag somewhere. Same thing for the brass medallion. Don't remember where or when I got that piece either. Mr. Skull has been hanging around for a while, waiting for me to decide what to do with him. After I finished the necklace I started playing around with some other bits and bobs and eventually came up with this single earring. It's meant to be worn as a single since it's kinda...unique. It may sound weird, but to me it looks like a skull you might find in an old cemetery that had worked it's way back to the surface and was just lying within a shrubbery hung with bright berries. But you know, that's just me.

I noticed, after I posted this same photo to FB, that you can see the reflection of my arm in the goblet. I was holding a piece of white paper behind the goblet so my messy work table wouldn't show up in the picture.  How nice that my red sweatshirt matched the red of beads on the earring. Almost like I planned it that way.....yeah, right.