and then look at the mess her zine caused.
You can get your very own IDEAS zine in her etsy shop along with some fabulous paper packs.
Last Friday I got to take the day off work to go with my friend Bethany and her high school ceramics students to the SOFA exhibit at Navy Pier in Chicago. It has been a few years since I’ve been to SOFA and I was wanting to go, so it was perfect that she invited me. Plus, day off from work, oh yeah!
SOFA was brilliant as usual. Unfortunately I was a bit distracted by the schedule and the wrangling of students that I left without buying the catalog. Also, I am kicking myself because although Bethany was writing down artists and gallery names to look up later, I didn’t. So now with no catalog and no names I have all these art pieces floating in my head and no artist to attach them to.
It was also really interesting to ride a school bus for the first time in more than a decade or more. I mean, I know we were taking a bus but I really hadn’t pictured a big yellow school bus. Does it show I’m spoiled or what, but I thought we’d be taking a coach-type bus or something. I had a bit of a feeling like Principal Rooney riding the school bus with all these kids around me. “One of these things is not like the others.” Also, High school kids are so stylish. Granted these were all art students so it might not have been an accurate representation across the board, but woah! I wanted to go home and throw away my entire wordrobe and start from scratch. Really, it just went to show how out of touch I am with fashion. I thought to myself that it was good that I don’t have to work in that kind of environment because I know those feelings of comparing myself to others that I had in high school would creep in again.
Afterward Bethany and I went to pick up her kiddies and went out to dinner and just to talk and hangout. It was a great day. I wish all Fridays could be as sweet. Have I mentioned how I miss my Fridays off? Maybe once, twice?
While living in rental units and before buying our home I had a dream list of things I wanted to do once I OWNED MY OWN HOME. There were things on that list like hanging a nice, full length mirror on the wall (as opposed to the cheap mirror that is stuck to the back of most apartment bathroom doors), having my very own hammock to swing in while enjoying my very own back yard and HELLO chalkboard paint wall. One of those list items was to have a nice and permanent display for all of my necklaces.
I consider most of my jewelry as wearable art, rather than just jewelry, and most pieces are not small or something that could easily be put away in a jewelry box. I’d like to have the pieces out and hanging in my bedroom. This way the pieces could be displayed as the artwork that they are, but also easily seen so I can decide which piece to wear each day.
In the past I’ve just hung all my necklaces from various random hooks, knobs and random nails that seem to be abundant in most rentals. I dreamed of a time when I’d have them all hanging on the wall, equally displayed. At first I pictured a straight line of nails, right into the wall. I think after renting for so many years I couldn’t even dream past the point of just owning my own walls that I could NAIL HOLES INTO IF I WANTED. It wasn’t until moving into our house that I started thinking beyond that and came up with this idea for a necklace display.
Last weekend I finally finished it and thought it might be something other people would be interested in recreating for their own necklaces. It was really simple and other than some assistance from my dad and sister (mostly because I needed their expertise, support and assurance) it could have been done in a day or two.
I went to the hardware/lumber store and bought a 2x10x8 and had them cut it down to 4 feet long and bought an a additional length of quarter-round, as seen above.
Lightly sand the wood, stain it and then treat it.
Using wood glue, glue the quarter round onto the edge and tape it into place and leave it to dry.
Put screws into the studs at the correct height, leaving them to stick out about .5″-.75″.
Run two pieces of tape across the piece, horizontally, at 1″ and 4″ down. Then mark the tape every .75″, alternating on the 1 and 4 inch tapes.
With a hammer, nail penny nails into the board at the marked spots at a slight angle upward.
Voila, the piece is done. Match the holes in the back of the piece to the screws in the wall and it hangs beautifully.
The purpose of the quarter round was to create a small ledge where I can place artwork and inspirational images.
I also chose to use penny nails. You might opt for hooks or decorative nails. I specifically wanted the penny nails because the necklaces can easily be pulled off, and they are less distracting from the necklaces.
If you click on any of the images in this post it should take you to the flickr image. If you go to to this picture of the close up, and hover over the picture I have given credit to all the different artists who’s work can be seen in this display.
Tiffany Teske is a superstar and has been featured and published in several magazines. One of those publications is Cloth, Paper Scissors and in the Nov/Dec issues from last year she was featured sharing her processes for fuji image transfer. As I explained yesterday, I have long wanted to explore emulsion transfer lifts and signed up for one of her image transfer classes thinking that is what we would learn. Last minute I realize that it wasn’t emulsion transfer after all, but as fate was working on my side, the class ended up touching on emulsion lift (enough to figure it out and do on my own later) AS WELL AS learning an entirely new-to-me technique that I think is a bit more involved and interesting than emulsion transfer, so I really lucked out. BOTH techniques ended up being something that I could do at home on my own, and didn’t even know it before.
The image transfer and emulsion transfer techniques were something that was originally done with Polaroid films. Not all Polaroid film can do this and that was what prevented me from trying it myself at home. Since Polaroid has stopped production on their instant films, Fuji (and The Impossible Project) have picked up where they left off and started producing many films that can fit in Polaroid cameras. When people think of Polaroid film nowadays, they mostly think of the point and shoot and pop out pictures that develop in your hands, shake it like a Polaroid picture! But these are, for the most part, not the types of film you would use for these techniques. Land Cameras like the one pictured above and below, that take pack peel apart film. Fuji now produces 100 film that will fit Polaroid Land cameras. This is the type of film we used for the class, and can be used for both image transfers as well as emulsion lifts.
It wasn’t until the class that I realized that this camera and the film I had been buying already, would work for the technique I’d been dying to try out. Sometimes when I feel really dumb I picture myself, walking down the sidewalk, whistling a happy tune, joy in my heart but not a brain in my head, when suddenly from out of no where a brick comes flying at me and hits me in the head, wherein a trip to the ground. Finding out that I could do emulsion transfers with a camera and film I already had on hand felt like that. Long ago, after reading up on the emulsion transfer lift process and realizing it was a camera and film I didn’t have access too, I just since imagined it was one of those really obscure things that probably also died with Polaroid.
I’ll quickly describe the techniques, but if you are interested to tack a crack at this yourself I’d encourage you to purchase a back copy of the Cloth, Paper Scissors where Tiffany shares her techniques, or just peruse the internets. There are fabulous tutorials and videos out there now. Yeah, if only I had thought to do that myself in the last 5 years, doh!
For the class we did not use cameras, but instead brought our own developed photographs and then Tiffany introduced this amazing machine called the Daylab Copy System Pro. It allows you to place any image on a glass flatbed, load the pack film, and with mirrors and a flash, transfer your image onto the pack film. If you had a camera that loaded the pack film then you could do it straight from there. Normally, after an image is transferred to the film you would wait, then pull apart the film and negative/chemical side and find your photograph fully developed. In the image transfer technique you do not allow the film to develop to the photograph, and instead peel them apart immediately and place the negative/chemical side onto a porous surface where you want your image to transfer. For emulsion lift, you use the same exact film, let your pictures develop and soak them in VERY hot water until the “emulsion” with image separates from the backing paper. It is transparent and more plastic and durable as compared to polaroid which was more gel like and would rip and tear easily.
During the class I was able to do about 10 transfers and I would say it is definitely something that takes practice, but is fun. The transfer image is more rugged and rough, so if you are looking for a pristine image this might not be the technique for you. Also, depending on your timing, as well as paper quality and texture, etc., your image can turn up wildly different. I do like a weathered image, but I also realized I had a harder time trying to accept that my images didn’t resemble my original closer. I loved everyone else’s grit, but had a hard time accepting that my own was “good enough”. I think this was because I chose pictures that I had taken and that were somewhat already close to my heart. If I was working straight from a camera, I’d never really know what the original would have looked like. I have so many ideas I’d love to explore more, like double exposures and writing and drawing on the surface of the paper before transferring the image. I would also LOVE to get my own Daylab. I’ll have to keep my eye open on ebay as well as at the flea markets and garage sales. I’m sad to think I might have even passed one of these up recently because I didn’t know exactly what it was.
The above two photos are examples of image transfers that I did in class. The image on the right pages are the originals that I brought in, the bottom pictures on the left are the photos developed on the fuji 100 pack film (they should be fairly light because most of the chemistry should actually end up going into your image transfer) and then the top left images are my image transfers on watercolor paper.
An instagram of the image transfers I did in class.
The class was great. I had fun experimenting, and learned way more than I expected… such as… did you know that the Impossible Project purchased the Polaroid factory that they work from, but not the chemistry, or instructions to create Polaroid film. They’ve had to hire their own chemists and have to figure things out for themselves. This is why Impossible Project film has to be protected from daylight when first developing, just like early on Polaroid film did. This is because they are working out the kinks on their own, just as Polaroid did when they first started out. Impossible Project film is not Polaroid film, but their own unique formulas. I find that fascinating.
This past weekend was the Na-Da Farm Barn Sale, my first official solo booth. Going into it, I was getting more and more nervous and stressed. Last minute, my sister-in-law was sick and couldn’t make it, but fortunately Matt was able to come in her place. During set up, I started getting so overwhelmed that if my sister and Matt hadn’t been there I might have just laid down in the grass and started crying. Emotional much? Instead I had to keep chugging along. The tent I was supposed to borrow didn’t work out, so I bought a new one. The buckets of sand we brought to anchor the tent down were worthless and the high winds across the farm fields caused, not only my tent to try and take flight, but also all my products inside. Fortunately Anne Marie’s son brought by two large cinder blocks to keep me anchored. My weather fears going into the sale were mostly rain related. The plan for my framed pieces had to be altered, and instead of each piece standing up on display they had to lay flat on the shelves. Believe it or not, by the end of the first day we all had wind burn and chapped lips.
But it was only a rough start, I promise. The rest of the sale was great. This sale was unlike any sale I’ve done before. Get this: both days before the show began there was a long line of people waiting to get in and get first dibs on everything as soon as the gates opened. I know… what?! What a difference a well promoted show makes!
This show was so refreshing. A beautiful property, elegant booths, and kind customers. The back of my booth was facing the entrance and the back wall of my booth had my yoyo quilt hanging from it. There was a pretty steady stream of people approaching from behind marveling at the quilt and a few people explained to us that it was the first thing people see when they were coming in. Lots of people had questions about it, what is it, did you make it, how did you make it, etc., etc. It’s a yoyo quilt. Yes, I made it, starting when I was 15 years old, and my mother is a quilter and provided lots of the scrap fabric for me. And finally, you sew a seam around a circle of fabric, pull the thread tight, then squash the fabric flat, then sew the individual pieces together, much like my framed pieces inside the booth.
It was a great show! Not only did I recover the cost of the booth, but the cost of the new vendor tent AND MORE! Last year when we went to the sale, I felt like there were a lot more handmade items. This year, I think I was one of only a couple of booths that were entirely handmade and not vintage or repurposed/revamped vintage. Still, I did really well. The jewelry, art reproduction/prints, and paper products were very popular.
I was able to snap a few instagram pictures, but because I was manning my booth, I didn’t have many opportunities to take pictures of the rest of the event. Fortunately, there is a lovely slideshow here at the Na-Da Farm blog. It was a great show and I’ll hopefully start listing the remaining product on etsy soon.
As I mentioned last week, Found Art Tuesday is getting a revival. Rosa has declared the second Tuesday of each month to be Found Art Tuesday, and here I am on St. Valentine’s Day to present you with my first Found Art Tuesday in an eternity.
and the back
Since I’ve been in Artomat mode, painting my mini canvases I thought I’d like to make a little painting for this Valentine’s Day Found Art Tuesday.
It took me a long time to think of where I should leave it. I wanted to get my mom a treat for Valentine’s Day, and I know she loves the cheese popcorn from the local candy store, The Confectionary. Then it hit me. What’s a better place to leave some love themed art, on Valentine’s Day, than in a candy store. Also fitting, as I am a candy addict. Once I decided, then I was nervous and worried about how I would leave it. It’s one thing to quickly ditch it somewhere, and another entirely to stick around and take photos.
Naturally, after we were already on our way I realized I forgot to bring my nice camera with me, so all my pictures are from my cruddy camera phone. The picture on the left above is taken from the Confectionary’s website.
I would have loved to leave the art taped to my favorite jar of candy, but when we got in there the employees were remarking how it was the first time it had slowed down all day, so their attention was entirely on us. Instead I realized they had a bulletin board, so I had Matt pay for the popcorn while I hung my artwork on the board.
It was such a relief to let it go and get out of there. I know Rosa feels like a super slueth or Ninja, but when I leave artwork behind I feel like a criminal. “they’re gonna catch me, they’re gonna catch me” like I could be taken away in cuffs and locked up forever.
Afterwards, since it was Valentine’s Day, Matt and I went to the new Aspen Leaf Yogurt. I’ve been wanting to go to one of these new yogurt type places for a long time, and lo and behold, we suddenly have one in town. I have a feeling that it will be my go-to place during the dog days of summer.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Now I’m off to check and see what Rosa, and others might have contributed. I’d love to hear if you played too.
I mentioned before, how I was inspired to start a new Artomat series in a new style. I decided, instead of practicing and perfecting it before beginning, that I would just start playing on real canvases.
Well, the new style I’m trying to move towards for this series is just really loose and more painterly. I want to use lots of color, but also that they shouldn’t be mixed thoroughly and should be streaky. More expressive and abstract. I’m having to jump some hurdles with this.
I always remember my friend Bri sharing advice from a teacher of hers that you should NEVER use paint straight out of a tube, you should always mix your own colors. It’s great advice that I agree with, but normally my method for painting has always been to mix colors on my palette so that they are very consistent, no streaks. The same with watercolor. Even when I was trying to loosen up, I realized putting paint on my palette and mixing minimally caused the color to be too uniform by the time I spread it on my canvas. So, I jumped this hurdle and have started just applying paint straight to the canvas and not using a palette at all. No mixing colors, until I’m already painting. It’s new to me and kind of cool. I like to work super fast, and going for this painterly approach is causing me to speed up even more. Granted, my canvas is the size of my palm. I’m sure it would be very different if I was painting a huge, or even average sized canvas.
I’m not exactly sure where this will take me, but I’m having fun playing.
Okay, here we are, day one of the catch up. This is where I would normally post the cards and the theme of the text on the back, but right now I’m so far behind, I’m just focusing on the mailart pieces themselves. The backs haven’t even been addressed or written on yet. I’ll tackle that hurdle once I’m caught up.
I’m trying to play catch up. I’m three weeks behind in sharing mailart365 postcards. The top two are brand new, but the ones below that are all postcards I made years ago but never sent out until now.
Postcard No. 71/365 – The list on the back “Patterns”
Postcard No. 75/365 – Things I can see outside my window
Postcard No. 69/365 - Things I can see on my work table
Postcard No. 70/365 – Things I’ve done in the last 24 hours
Postcard No. 72/365 – A few things about myself
Postcard No. 74/365 -Things I do every day
Postcard No. 73/365 - 10 Great Movies