Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sketchbook Woes No More!

For the past few days, I have been completely unimpressed with my journal for The Sketchbook Project. I was having trouble with the thin paper that came with it. I am more used to working on thicker paper and being able to use paints, inks, water, etc without too much trouble. But this paper was bleeding through, with it getting pretty wrinkly and warped, and even a light application of ink from stamps was showing through on the back of the page. As I worked, I was even starting to have trouble with the first and second page starting to rip out of the binding. I know that these books are going to be on display and (hopefully) viewed by lots of folks, so I just decided that this would not do at all. I got online, and started researching bookbinding and art journal making. I found some great youtube videos by Teesha Moore that were very helpful. Check them out.

I also reached out to my new friends online to ask for their help and to find out how they were handling this problem. Oh my - the response! Everyone was so sweet and helpful - they all know that I'm not a paper artist and that I'm doing this for fun. If you have a moment and want to see their awesome work, check out their blogs.

Tales from the Studio Mailbox
Bird from a Wire
Chasing Purple Dreams

So yesterday, I went to the world's best art store, Flax, and bought some paper, thread and bookbinding needle. I was so excited to get rid of that thin paper! When I got home, I measured out my paper, cut it up into the appropriate sizes, and ripped apart the old one. How satisfying THAT was! And then I proceeded to sew in the new paper, and you know what? It wasn't hard! I was so excited... this whole project was to be an experiment to try some new things and to document my time here in San Francisco. So this just felt right! I am almost jumpy with excitement to get going on the new journal now. But first, we are taking the kiddo to the Exploratorium here in SF today. Should be fun!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ever feel stuck??

A few months ago, hubby and I had a conversation about feeling stuck. He was ready to get involved again in his acting, and wasn't sure how to go about it. He was unsure how to actually get started. I urged him to Just Start. Find something, a class you can take, a movie that needs extras, or even a set you can volunteer on. Just Do Something! So he took that to heart, and signed up for a 5 week class, and boy, did that get him going! There was no stopping him then and he was so, so happy in what he was doing. So this phrase caught my eye the other day when we were at the Academy of Science, here in San Francisco. This quote actually refers to things a person can do to conserve energy and recycle. But I thought of other things when I read it. :) I think lots of us feel this way sometimes. I know I do. Sometimes I feel like if I can just get going in the right direction, then I'll be on my way. It may be hard to stay on track, but isn't life exciting like that? All sorts of wonderful things can pop up if you are open to it. Isn't that a nice thought?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Visual Inspiration

So far this trip has been a huge source of visual stimulation and inspiration! I am completely absorbed by the trees, the plants and the scale of plant growth here. I've seen jade plants, which I've grown indoors all my life, as shrubs with trunks bigger around than the widest part of my arm! Bottlebrush trees at home are nice, small trees that the hummingbirds visit. Here the Bottlebrush trees are enormous, and litter the streets with their spent flowers. I can't see up into the top of the tree to see if there are hummingbirds there, but I have to imagine they are up there having a Thanksgiving feast!

Yesterday, I went for a run in the Presidio on what is called the Ecology Trail. Oh my. It was such a change from the rest of the park. I was running on trails, through the forest and the flora went from hilly grasslands to a dark forest. The forest was so amazing, I stopped just to look around. The trees were so tall and their canopy so complete, that almost no sunlight got in. There were no other plants growing on the floor of this forest, and no limbs on the trees except for the ones at the top, so it was this crazy space of vertical lines and darkness and quiet. I think I will be going back with my sketchbook just to spend a little time there. The funny part of the story is that I am currently reading a vampire book, and my imagination took over here. What a perfect place for a vampire... and so I ran on to get out of that place! Nothing like a little imagination to bring a scary book to life!

But anyway, this place is a wonderful source of inspiration and I can wait to get going on my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project. If you didn't see that post, it was the last one I wrote before this.. I think that I will definitely be using some of this new imagery of plants in my sculptures when I get home and get back to working in clay. Which, by the way, my hands are really starting to miss after just one week!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

I just signed up for the coolest thing: The Sketchbook Project. I found this through a couple of other blogs that I follow and I just thought it was the neatest group-based project I had heard of in a while. I always want to spend more time drawing/writing/journaling, and that is one of my goals while here in San Francisco. So they've already shipped my moleskin journal out to me, and I am already looking forward to using it! It will be tough to completely let go of it and send it in at the end of the project, but that is part of the point! To let go of your work and share it with others. It doesn't have to be a work of "art" - this would also be a great project for a mom/daughter team! (I would certainly do it with Marley if she were a bit older...) So I plan to use this journal as an experiment of new techniques, musings, and a visual record of my time here in SF.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some Link Love

Today I wanted to give you a list of some folks who are really great artists, and wonderful people too. It will be a short list, because I am starting to pack for my trip to San Francisco (I'm there for 6 weeks!) and with this stomach bug I've had, I am behind on my preparations. So here are a few blogs to check out!

Jen Swift, the artist behind Bird from a Wire is an inspiring person. She's an artist and a mom and has just had a book published! click on the link to see her blog post about her new book. It will be available on amazon soon!

Laura Otero is a new friend I made from my Flying Lessons ecourse. Laura is making some big changes in her life so that she can focus on her jewelry. I love her work and her personality and I know she will go far! Take a peek at her work in her Etsy shop! I really dig her earrings!

Michele from PiPi La La is another artist from New Zealand that I met in the ecourse. She's my kind of gal. Mom, artist, chocolate lover and coffee drinker. Check out her blog to see her unique and beautiful girls that she paints!

That's it for today. As I scramble to get everything together for San Francisco, I don't think I'll be doing much blogging until next week when we have arrived there. I'll be sure to fill you in on our adventures in traveling with a 2 yr old on her first flight!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Foundry Tour

Wow, oh wow! These are some photos of the foundry tour that we had last week. It was so interesting to meet the guys and see the HUGE equipment that makes the pieces. You see big vats of melted wax and huge kilns that melt metal, and then large, rotating bins of a ceramic mix that is sprayed onto the pieces. Both men and women work in the foundry, not just all big, burly men. The process is very much labor intensive, and takes about 6-8 weeks from start to finish. I will be going back to the foundry for the patina process after I return from San Francisco. I'll drive back to Florida and stay for a couple of days, with most of my time working at the foundry with the patina guys. After that, it shouldn't be too long before the piece is ready to bring home. This foundry was awesome in that they can do the shipping if I need to send it somewhere to a buyer, so they can handle that for me.

I'm really excited and I can't wait to post more photos of this process for you! Not many people get to see the inside of a foundry and it was seriously exciting!