Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Reflections on the April A to Z Challenge

Time for me to share my "Reflections" on the A to Z Challenge from 2017. 

It came at a very busy time for me, but when I set a goal for myself I seem to make it happen. 
The  Alphabet  is a great starting point. I always keep an ongoing list of thoughts & topics, 
even when there is no challenge to push me. I'm set for the next several years of the challenge. Made it through with no missed posts,enjoying it the entire month. 

Some folks didn't like the fact there was no list of participants this year. I was fine with the new arrangement.  I created a copy of the link we needed to share our posts on the Blogging from A to Z site in a word document. It was easy to share my post each day by copying & pasting while I had my post up in another window.  I received many more comments this year as opposed to last. I also worked at commenting on more blogs myself. It was fairly easy to find other participants at the A to Z site linked above. Posting to Facebook is a great way to generate more viewers in my experience.

Some of my favorites from this year:

Mail Adventures    Lots of fun artsy envelopes.

Envelope 100   Another snail mail inspired blog. 

My Virtual Vineyard   One woman's daily musings. 

Black and White  Great images of print makers work.

Reel Focus  The theme was food in film. Fun posts!

My Life in Retirement   As I retired during April I had to see what this gal had to say. Theme: travel.

Sara C. Snider   Magical & Medicinal Herbs, her theme, so interesting & well done.

 There were many more.  My hat is off to all of you who took this on & made it all the way through.

During the challenge the most popular 3 posts of mine were:

Oblique Strategies

Lettering Arts


My most popular post of all time is Gorgeous Pacific North West.

I arrived back home a few days ago from a trip to Denver with college room mates.
 The Denver Botanical Gardens were wonderful. They have several Alexander Calder works on loan from the Smithsonian. The 2 images above are different views of the same piece.
Cause for "reflection".

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Inspiration Everywhere

I cut up a couple catalogs for color, sketching, & shape inspiration. 
They are going in my journal.

May is an Artist Trading card month.  Pulled out some ideas & started to ply with shapes

The thought is to do mini fabric collages. Good way to use the scrap box. 
I find these mini pieces of art can generate lots of ideas to be used in other larger projects.

At a friends for an art play date I looked again at a sweet
 little mobile she has hanging in her kitchen.  

Inspiration everywhere indeed.
What place or activity generates the most inspiration for you?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring In & Out of the Studio

My husband has made a big improvement to our deck. It's been expanded and a new railing almost done that opens it up to the swath of woods out back. Sigh. Love it!

All that's left is to mount the wood top rail & run horizontal wires through the posts. 

We wait so long for Spring in Northern Michigan. You want to soak up every ray of sun you can when the weather warms. 

On to the studio. More fabric painting & boxes. 

First step getting layers of color & design on the canvas. 

Cutting the painted fabric for sewing.


This is my approach now with these boxes.
 Sew  a contrasting fabric around the stiff Pelon so the edges are fully covered.

Then sew the cover fabric to the covered Pelon.

I'm off on a short trip with girlfriends to Denver. 
Hoping to post inspiration I find in my travels.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zester A to Z Challenge

 Z is for Zest

My entire A to Z challenge could be about food. Maybe a year in the future. 
In the meantime, I see food & cooking as a big part of my creative life.
 Not a bad way to end the challenge.

The aroma in the kitchen when zest hits the heat in a pan, heaven.

 Current favorite recipes with lemon zest:

 Shrimp with Pesto & Lemon Zest

Tuna casserole

I made it! A to Z  2017. Can I have my survivor badge now? 
See you next year. Hope you visit before then as well. 
It's been a pleasure cruising around to see what others are up to. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yardage A to Z Challenge

Yardage- Term used to describe any cut length of fabric. In the U.S., fabric is measured and cut in yards (36-inch intervals). A length of fabric in an undefined amount.

It's not the official definition, which has something to do with animal pens. 
But I'm sticking with fabric as Y is a tough one.

I have lots of yardage in my studio. Stacked in cubbies and jammed in a trunk I've owned since college. In an earlier post I showed my trunk full of old fabric. Recently I discovered a local business that accepts & resells all kinds of craft stuff. Perfect! A place to obtain & pass on "yardage".

When I'm deep into a project I like to coral all the pieces in a bin.

I have a table set up right now for painting soem "yardage" for several
fabric containers I have in mind.

Layer one of hand painting done yesterday.

It's just another word for fabric, but it had to be my "Y"

Friday, April 28, 2017

X-Acto knives A to Z Challenge Can't Do Without 'em

In book binding, box making, & other paper arts exact cutting is mandatory for good results. 
A sharp blade, steady hand, not to mention a cork backed ruler, maybe a square edge of some sort, makes life in the studio so much better. X-Acto knives are in every artists bag of tricks.

Over time & on the suggestion of different instructors I've accumulated a variety of
 tools for cutting. The one above is my current favorite. 

This baby has been with me for years & it's a work horse. 
I use it on heavy book board, paper, even fabric at times.
You can find one in any man cave. 
This one is mine!

This was recommended for trimming leather. I haven't been able to make friends 
with it yet. I'll work on it.

My "X" for this years A to Z Challenge was easy. 
Nice of the brand to start their products with an X.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Weights & Measures A to Z Challenge

In the studio I use weights to help me all the time. To hold the end of a long ruler, to keep a piece of paper or fabric where I want it when cutting, to hold a pile of like items off to the side when working on a series. The image above is a tin full of old lead type I used to make the weights below.

Creating your own boxes for any purpose is a time consuming exacting endeavor, just the kind I like.
Old maps with a waxy finish make a perfect cover. All these weights could be used as a weapon as they are quite heavy, that's the point.

 I've featured these before. They were my Dad's. A friend of his melted lead into muffin tins, then used enamel paint to cover them. A screw was embedded into the lead so a knob could be attached.
 I have put new felt on the bottoms and added newer knobs. 
These are always the envy of fellow artists at workshops. 

 I totally stole this idea from Shanna Leino. Hers are sold out
 so I pulled out the scrap leather bag & went to town.

 These BBs have come in handy for the leather weight as well as fabric sculptures that need 
some heft to keep elements where I want them.

The measures were just a way to make my title work. 
More interest than just weights don't you think?
These tools are just as important. Could have used them for "M". 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Viewfinder A to Z Challenge

  This Viewfinder was in the attic of the Arts & Crafts Bungalow I occupied for over 30 years. Since I found it it has had a place on my mantle or elsewhere in view.  It's vintage 1930's according the the link. Could have used Vintage for V...too late.

 In the first picture you can see the little strip of velvet that has mostly worn away along the edge.

 I should try a sketch it. A challenge.

Unfortunately no cards were found that go with these.

I had a little trouble with V.  But already have an idea for next year.

Is anyone else getting worn down at this point in the challenge?  Only 4 letters to go.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Urban Art A to Z Challenge

 When I travel I like to see the art that is on display in public places. It assures me that humans are aware that art in our everyday lives is important. 

 The  images above & below are from my home. I would love to know the story of the fox, and why is he holding an egg?  But he stopped me dead in my tracks.

This funky guy is the "River Guardian" in Traverse City.  It got both raves & contempt when it was unveiled. I happen to like him. Link is an article about the reaction to this sculpture.


 A friend who lives in Denver sent me this. These lovely lithe ladies are magnificent on their own. Then they got dresses for an arts event!

 I admit I do like graffiti. She is a bit frightening but so well done. 
Brooklyn N.Y. from a trip several years ago.

 This couple is so sweet. Portland neighborhood. Discovered them on a leisurely walk to get breakfast one morning. That is what's so great about public art, you just happen upon it.

 Alaska. A personified loon.The artist,  Rachel Dowdy,  also has an installation in the airport. 
Image below. These whimsical geese.

Also in Alaska. A High School project using ocean trash to create this rather beautiful salmon.

 These last two are as iconic as it gets. Large metal. The St Louis Arch by Eero Saarinen & "Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor, better known at the bean in Chicago. Photo ops of these two are limitless.