Saturday, May 23, 2009

Treasure from my Taiwanese childhood.

I've been studying Judy Wilkenfeld's Guo-Guo, a "visual anthology"TM, as well as Nina Baley's "Destination: Journey" and I was thinking that it would be really good to do something with the treasures of my childhood, so that they could tell a story, or at the very least, they could come out and play in an art piece.
So I tried covering a box with some interesting tribal cloth scored from a local Frenchy's...

And began adding some odds and ends. I found this great star fish in Port Townsend during Artfest and button/closure piece from Lynn Davis on Etsy (she's got some really cool stuff happening all the time).

While struggling with my box and its contents, suddenly a box from my childhood friend Kiki turns up on my doorstep. WOW! So now I'm thinking about switching boxes, redoing the cloth one... hmmmm... so many possibilities!
Here's a little bit of the contents from Kiki's box. As kids we would spend many Saturdays, as best as I can remember, eating dumplings with hot and sour soup and exploring pawn shops and old junk shops looking for snuff bottles and other mysteries.
Thank you Kiki! I love all of it but this little stone monkey is probably my favorite piece, expressing my childhood experience as a foreign ghost so well. Mischievous and playful, with a big grin. What fun.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Art Challenge: Making friends with freedom and uncertainty.

Collage by Lani
This art challenge comes from SARK. Do you ever find yourself hesitating before beginning a new project or do you ever experience fearfulness before the unknown? Here's SARK's idea and it's a great one!
"Turn "freedom" and "uncertainty" into friends by CREATING them, yourself! Start by imagining: if "freedom" and "uncertainty" were actual friends that you could hang out with and play with, what would they look like? Now CREATE them... "

Isn't that great? Can you imagine creating two art dolls, one "freedom" and the other "uncertainty"? My "freedom" will have wings and my "uncertainty" will have a most mischievous expression on her face!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do you believe in Magic? Hummingbird magic?

Hummingbird feeder on the side of the house and cloisonné hummingbird hanging in the foreground.

Last summer Edward put up a hummingbird feeder on the side of the house. Nothing happened. He attached bright red streamers to it. Still nothing happened. While visiting my sister in Ann Arbor, I picked up a cloisonné hummingbird. I figured that we could at least have one hummingbird around, or perhaps if this little object was imbued with any magic it might call to the hummingbirds in the environment and they would come to Edward's feeder. We put it up and that day hummingbirds started coming.

A couple of weeks ago, when we'd heard the hummingbirds were back, Edward put the feeder back up. Nothing. Then I remembered the magical cloisonné creature so we hung it up again and sure enough, the hummingbirds are back at Edwards feeder!

Got to have a little magic in our lives!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Links and Inspiration

Here's a great video from Traci Bunkers. I'm eager to try this technique!
(The sounds on this video are amazing, frightening, and very bizarre. The explanation is here. When I hear this stuff I want jump right out of my skin. It's really weird, like having a migraine in your ears.) But I love Tracy Bunkers' work, so I would just turn down the sound if this kind of thing bothers you. Here's her flickr page, her website, and her etsy shop.

And for something completely different, I ordered Christine Mason Miller's book "Ordinary Sparkling Moments" and there's no way to say how delighted I am!!! She's hit that ol' art and word combination right on it's head! The graphics are beautiful in my favorite, slightly beat-up, weathered way! And the content is perfect, especially for those of us who have lived long enough to appreciate our lives and souls even if they are slightly beat-up and weathered, or maybe even because of it, and therefore are grateful for the Ordinary Sparkling Moments. Do check her Sparkletopia Blog for wonderful inspiration. She says to consider it an online scrapbook of resources, inspiration and light. Which it is! Which SHE is!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What do you get when you cross art journaling with Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey"?

Collage by Lani, heavily borrowing Bernardino Luini's Herdias

Would you like to explore the therapeutic aspects of art journaling with the narrative qualities of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey? This eCourse helps artists create their own meaningful metaphoric journeys with relaxing, restorative exercises using both art and narrative as they work in their visual journals. Take the leap into joy, find and strengthen your inner hero or heroine.
Join us on Monday, May 18. For a special blog reader's discount for all my eCourses click here.


Charlotte Harms
"An amazing class that takes one on an odyssey of spirit! A turning point in my life!"

Susanna Suchak
"And boy is it fun. If I had time right now I'd take it again. I could use a booster shot!"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Photoshop collage by Lani

This poem came from Joe Riley over at Panhala this week.
Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art.

~ Alison Luterman ~

(The Largest Possible Life)

Web version:

Friday, May 08, 2009

Another Man Ray contest on Flickr

I headed over to the Man Ray Flickr group and found the 47th contest has a close-up of a German WW2 Army Compass. Coming from a long line of wanderers who adore compasses and knowing where they are, I took the bate! Here's my original photo before "Man Raying" it up a bit.

And here's my little wanderer after adding the compass image, a layer of snow, and doing some blending actions.

"Not all who wander are lost." Created for the 47th Weekly Contest on Man Ray: Compass
Thank you Borealnz for the compass image.
Thank you Pink Sherbet for the Snow texture.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A little bead addiction

Have I mentioned my bead addiction? No? Check it out! It's serious.

One of my favorite stones, an old turquoise that I've carried around for years. It finally got a new home in this necklace.

This charm bracelet is to bring good luck while traveling. I included as many of my favorite deities as I could. Mostly they are Catholic medals. One says call a priest in case of emergency.

But I also have a Tibetan Buddhist charm here, just to make sure.

After doing the above bracelet I needed to create one that was a little more simple in style and content! (Ha!)

This is a favorite old key and piece of quartzite from Ontario.

This armadillo is from Wynwoods Bead Gallery in Port Townsend. The blue egg is from Nina Bagley's sister Ellen.

This one is a silver lizard milagro from New Mexico and egg from Ellen.

An old key with some garnet and silver beads from India.

This horse is from Wynwoods Bead Gallery in Port Townsend and yes, they have a wonderful on-line selection!

Here's a necklace I made with my favorite piece of lapis lazuli, for my bff Kim! (Shhhh. Don't tell her.)

Another favorite stone.

The elephant is Wynwoods Bead Gallery in Port Townsend and an egg from Ellen.

That's all for now. Back to the beads and wire!

Thank you Huyen MacMichael!!

Collage by Lani, inspired by Emily Dickinson and Huyen MacMichael.

Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.

Part One: Life


HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 5
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea; 10
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

A bottle arrived with a message from Emily via Huyen!
She wrote the poem on the outside of the bottle, altered the cork so it came from Chateau MacMichael and the crane dangled from the cork! Amazing.
Lovely and inspiring!
Thank you Huyen!

Monday, May 04, 2009

It's May 4th and Resilience has begun.

It's May 4th and the introduction to Resilience, Transformation, and Art is posted, the Monday prompt has gone out and I can relax a bit before taking the boys out for their walk. I checked my in-box where I found a note from Nic Askew. Here's a film of his that says everything about resilience. In fact all his films say everything about resilience. Have I mentioned lately what a fan I am of Nic Askew!? (Warning: If you play the film at full screen it may cause tears to emerge.)

'smile' from Nic Askew on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Resilience on Monday, May 4, 2009

Resilience and Art starts Monday! Can't wait! We'll be using that which we love, do, and ARE (art) to strengthen our courageous selves and our abilities to work with adversity. We will practice thriving through art making! Does that sound good? Please join us if you can. Blog readers get a special discount. Click here.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

While waiting for the disintegration project to dry...

While waiting for the disintegration project to dry (see previous post) I started working on my Photoshop skills and actions. Have I mentioned lately, how much fun Photoshop is? Whew. Then onward to document the another trade for the 14 Secrets group. This one is "a message in a bottle" coming from the shores of Nova Scotia, traveling to Utah.

I imagined that the bottle would contain some sort of message relating to rescue of some kind, so I altered a "Rescue Remedy" bottle. Then I started looking for a suitable quote. The message popped up in my in-box in a daily message from Sark's Transformation eCourse, a message someone had found on the wall of a diner. This was perfect so into the bottle it went!

Good Morning
This is God
I will be handling all your problems today
I will not need your help
so have a good time
I love you

I wrapped it all up in a banana leaf, wanting to add to the "coming from distant shores" feeling to it, and sealed it up in a Numi Tea box which also had a "distant shores" feel to it.

I hope that the message in the bottle is the perfect message for my 14 Secrets buddy, Carol.

Here's another Photoshoped tintype!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Disintegration and Beauty

Well, it's May 1 and the unveiling of our bundles begins! I dug my bundle of papers and books out from under some fairly seriously disintegrating seaweed, but my bundle was still there! This is how it looked when I pulled it out. Quite disgusting. I had to throw a layer of texture and a bit of text to distract the eye a little. But my papers are drying and I'll check on them tomorrow. They may look a bit more appealing then.

Are you wondering what this is all about? Check Seth's blog, The Altered Page, and see what marvels nature does in collaboration with artists! Very exciting!

The Altered Page: DisCo - the big reveal

The Altered Page: DisCo - the big reveal