Monday, March 31, 2008

New Anne Choi Bead...

I picked up this ivy motif bead on eBay for a very reasonable price. It's one of Anne Choi's beads. The things you find there are sometimes very surprising. I've found a lot of remarkable treasures to add to my collections on sites like eBay.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Illustration Friday: Homage...

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is homage. I thought of doing all sorts of works for it, but in the end, I decided to revisit some of my older pieces. In particular, I wanted to pull up the Marilyn Undone series.

Above: Photograph of Marilyn Monroe by Arnold Newman taken during the last days of her life.

I must admit that I've never been overtly an enthusiastic admirer of Marilyn Monroe. Sure, I think she was great and did a lot of things that made her into an icon, but hey... I've never been one of those people who jump up and down at just the mention of her name. Believe me, there are people like that. But I was drawn to this image taken by Arnold Newman. It struck me hard. I want to say that it felt genuine and without the pretense of glamour. I wanted to pay homage to the humanity of Marilyn Monroe.

I then de-constructed the photo by doing three drawings of it and then collaging them together in one piece. These three (merged into one) were apart of the first generation of the series.

With the next generation, I did several different things. One of them was to do drawings and paintings from the first generation collage. The next thing was to re-incorporate the original photograph into the collage, as can be seen above.

Although I liked the black and white aesthetic, I wanted to introduce more color into the work. I did a series of gouache paintings based on the original photograph and then wove those in with color copies of the original generations.

As the deconstruction process progressed, the images became more abstracted and more form oriented. Snippets could be found of the original generations and source material, but eventually everything was absorbed into collage. I did HUNDREDS of pieces based on this series. Here are a few of the them. Even though the later generation images don't include Marilyn directly, they pay homage to her humanity... to my humanity.

Happy Birthday Liz Sherwood...

The lovely Liz Sherwood held a small steak and green bean get-together at her place to celebrate her "Quarter of a Century." She's such a wonderful person. I feel lucky to know her! Her birthday party was the perfect way to end a busy day. It was nice to unwind, make new friends, talk with old ones, and watch a really interesting documentary about New York in the 1950's. Happy Birthday Liz Sherwood!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pulse Contemporary Art Fair...

video

After we finished up at the Whole Bead Show, we met up with one of my high school cronies, Alba Lamar, and headed over to the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair. Since I've been working so much, I haven't had an opportunity to go to the galleries very much. So it was nice to see a great deal of work concentrated in one area. It was also nice to see works from galleries outside of New York. The big thing that I noticed from the fair was there was a lot of work that was fun to look at. It gave a sense of instant gratification - either by cuteness, shock value, sensationalism, eroticism, or by sheer ornateness. Perhaps it's the nature of the art fair to have the most instantly alluring pieces up to draw in buyers and compete with the 70 or so other galleries also showing. Or, maybe the work being made nowadays is more akin to candy - pretty to look at, tastes great, but isn't necessarily good for you or a real meal. CLICK HERE to see my Flickr photo set.

The Whole Bead Show...

This weekend, the Whole Bead Show is in town. I'm not vending there, but it was nice to drop by and visit with some friends and pick up some much needed beading supplies for some upcoming competition pieces that I'll be working on. This year, the show was much bigger. I have mixed feelings about this. I prefer smaller shows with more artisan vendors and a select number of high quality importers who have reasonable prices. But that's just the way I like it.

Left: A quick snapshot of Malou of J & M Gem 'N' Things in front of her new wooden beads from the Philippines. The new line is GREAT! They are light-weight, durable, and very colorful. Perfect for summer!

Left: Here's a picture of Pam Wynn of Pam and Heather Wynn sporting some sparkling Saratoga water. Not only do I love their polymer beads, but I love this creative and crafty mother and daughter team as well. They're just some of the nicest, most wonderful people ever. "Aunt Sue" was there also, but she refused to get in the picture. She said, "I don't want to break your camera." She's so sassy and fun!

Left: That's Sak of Saki Silver behind his booth. They have some really great clasps and earwires. They also have some really great gems and silks. Speaking of good people, Sak and Liz are really darling!

Here's my yield from the show. It's fairly modest, as I'm on a tight budget, but I'm looking forward to working with all the goodies that I picked up. My favorite finds were the new polymer owl pendants from Heather Wynn and the gunmetal finished earwires from Saki Silver. I also really like the laminated wood beads covered in banana leaves from J & M Gems 'N' Things. They look just like tiger's eye. All in all, I'm pretty happy.

The Things We Find...

I'm in the process of cleaning and organizing my studio (again). I figure that if I can stay up one night a week, even though I'm already tore up tired, I can make a lot of progress and have it finished sometime in June. Maybe... if I'm lucky.

Even with my best intentions, I found myself sitting in front of the computer and looking at blogs. First I was at Jean Yate's blog (which admittedly, I sometimes check several times a day), then over to Margot Potter's, and then up through the Ornament Thursday links to the Art Bead Scene blog (which as you can see from my blog roll, I do check daily but it's at the top of the list and I start from the bottom). At the Art Bead Scene blog there's a post about organizing one's work station and bead storage. Within it contains a link to Jill MacKay's blog. I checked it out and started scrolling through the archives. That's when I found this:

It's a picture I stole from Jill MacKay's blog. I like it quite a bit (even if my ears look more pointy than usual - except at Faerie Con). It's a shot from when we were in Tucson together. Nowadays the Thornton kids are all spread out. I'm in New York, Sheila is in L.A., and Cynthia is in Asheville. The other fine folk in the picture are even further dispersed - Katie Wall of Fusion Beads in Seattle, Heather Wynn in Florida, and Barb Switzer in California. It made me miss my friends and family something terrible.

It's funny the things we find on the internet in the pre-dawn hours. We find reminders and suggestions of the tasks at hand that have yet to be completed. We find pictures of ourselves we didn't even know were there. And somewhere along the way we find the reasons to keep going and do what we do. (AND you find really cool Moleskines with silver leaf patterns on Etsy!)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

False Starts...

I began typing this post several different times. Each beginning seemed a little off. I was going to complain about my day-job and how tired I am and how extremely cranky this is making me. But that wasn't what I felt this post should be about. I was going to write about how I was desperate to escape "The Survival Mode" but that didn't seem right either. I thought about writing about the wonderful fantastical world I would escape to, but that felt more like a distraction than anything else.

So, instead I'm going to make a list of seven things that I need to remember. Perhaps, when one is caught up in the turbulent world of trying to make it, one should reflect on these things:

Remember your friends and family; their love is healing.
Remember Nature and its beauty; you are connected.
Remember to walk at your own pace; never rush to match another's.
Remember what is important to you and fight to protect what that is.
Remember to smile and laugh; they keep you young at heart.
Remember that all people are capable of creating great beauty.

Most importantly...

Remember your spirit.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Secret Life of Tea...

It is not uncommon that I find myself helping the baristas make beverages from time to time at the restaurant I work at. I got my start as a barista - making coffee, pulling espresso, pouring lemonade and teas. Today I was helping them out. While making the Jasmine Pearls tea that we get from the specialty tea purveyor called In Pursuit of Tea, I noticed the uncommonly floral and sweet fragrance wafting up from the cup.

This really isn't unusual. I've made probably thousands of cups of tea over the years, but for some reason, it struck me today. Something so mundane, that I've done over and over, became a gem of a moment that began rolling around in my subconscious.

The back of the container said that this particular tea comes from Fujian Province in China and that it is scented with jasmine blossoms. For the moment, this was a fine answer that sated my curiosity.

After my weekly (dare I say it, nightly) visit to the Dessert Truck), I began to think of the tea again. One of the characteristics is that upon immersion into hot water, the "pearls" of silvery green tea leaves unfurl. But this only provoked more questions.

So, like any good modern person, I Googled it.

What I found out made my passing moment even more special. I discovered that during spring each leaf is hand-picked 7,756 (or so) miles away. The individual leaves are hand rolled and stored till the summer-blooming jasmine tree (reported to have been brought from the Persian Gulf in the 3rd Century) gives forth its fragile blossoms. The pearls are then infused with the scent of the jasmine flowers in a complex drying system.

Today it dawned upon me that in my hand was the culmination of countless spring days, hundreds of years, thousands of miles, the labors of several lifetimes, and that all of this was a secret revealed only to those willing to take notice.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Anne Choi Beads...

Look what other little goodies came in the mail today as well! These are amazing Anne Choi beads. I love them with all my heart. The poem ones include lines from an Francis Thompson poem - one of my favorites. The other two are her new key beads. Aren't they SUPER!?!?

Steam Stones...

These goodies arrived in the post earlier today from Melanie of Earthenwood Studio. They are from her new line of steampunk inspired porcelain components called, "Steam Stones." Aren't they great? She also sent along more little watch guts. I've got lots of plans for these little treats.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Illustration Friday: Pet Peeves...


"She had a list of pet peeves. Despite her best intentions, whenever someone transgressed upon her sacred rules and codes of conduct, she became a real monster - one that foamed and frothed at the mouth as she detailed acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. No one dared make the same mistakes around her twice!"


Honestly, I wasn't quite moved by this week's Illustration Friday theme, Pet Peeves. Buried neck-deep in other projects, I kept waiting for inspiration to strike on this prompt but it never really did. Instead I'm using an older piece from a series of monster collages that I did. I know it's a bit of a stretch, but sometimes you feel it and sometimes you don't.

Happy Easter...

Firstly, I must point out that I don't really celebrate Easter. (But for those of you who do, Happy Easter! Or Merry Ostara!) I do enjoy some of the activities associated with the holiday, such as egg decorating and gorging ones' self on overly-saccharine candy. One of the things that I really particularly like is the onslaught of bunny imagery. This fascination all started with Jen Tong's Bunny Boy silkscreen print. After that, I got a fever for bunny artwork. My favorites are where the bunnies are deformed or anthropomorphic in some weird or unusual way. CLICK HERE to go to my Flickr set of prints and artwork from my collection.

If you're an artist and would like to trade, feel free to hit me up. I always like a good trade! Or if you know of any good artists making affordable prints or art that include interesting rabbit-friends, don't be afraid to leave a comment. I am more than happy to investigate.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pulse Room...

I just read about the interactive installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer called, "Pulse Room." It really is quite amazing. I love pieces that directly involve the viewer and are still gorgeous. CLICK HERE to see a video about the room.

New Goodies...

Just got my package from Ornamentea. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, it's one of my favorite bead shops. They've got a diverse selection of findings. I picked up some Elaine Ray beads, clock parts, and gunmetal chain.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Necklace...

This is one of the new pieces that I've been working on. It was done for one of my co-workers at my day-job. We sat down and did a design consultation. One of the first things I like to do is a Jungian series of questions that sheds light on a person's inner feelings about themselves, society, their sex life and the after-life. Yep... who knew a word game could be so revealing? Then I talk with them about their style, paying special attention to what they have already in their existing collection (making notes on color, shape, size, and lengths). To finish off the consultation, a quick sketch is done. Above is the end result.

Complete...

I've heard stories about love letters delivered 20 years after the fact, but never did I think it'd happen to me. Well, in this case it wasn't a love letter, but instead a Specimen print from the wonderful Amy Walsh. Oh, and instead of 20 years it was a few weeks, but it was still a victim of being lost in the mail. Luckily it found it's way to me and its friends and I can happily add it to my collection - making it complete.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vanitas Vanitatum Omni Vanitas...

I just discovered the works of Amy Sarkisian and they are deeply appealing to my secret Rococo sensibilities. Something about their excess and seemingly rock star glamor remind me heavily of the European vanitas paintings. Her skull pieces (which are my favorite) have an edgy ornateness that is highly seductive and completely iconic. It reminds me of a line from the Bible which means, "Vanities of vanity; all is vanity."

Tap Project...

Today the 'Wichcraft locations in New York are participating in UNICEF's Tap Project. Our restaurant invites customers to donate a dollar or more for a glass of tap water that would normally be free. Each dollar raised goes towards providing one child clean drinking water for 40 days. I think it's easy to take for granted that if you want a glass of water, you just go over to the sink or the refrigerator and pour one. My family in the Philippines has a regimen of taking a boat out to get freshwater miles away. One boat goes out as the other comes in. It's a daily activity that is crucial to their survival. A missed trip means no water for that day. Please donate if you can!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Radio Silence...

It's been awhile since I've last updated. I apologize for my absence. However, I've been very busy making lots of things and working on tons of projects. I will be updating shortly with all the new developments.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Illustration Friday: Heavy...

The theme for this week's Illustration Friday challenge is, "Heavy." I thought about a lot of different approaches that I might take, but ended up fixing an older piece to match the theme. Here is how it fits:

He tried not to think on his history. It was one of those things that were better left unsaid. Years had passed since he thought about any of it, but still - his history wore on him heavily. His features dripped with the weight of it all; they were ravaged.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mistress of Spices...

I saw a trailer for The Mistress of Spices and had to check it out. I read the book by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni awhile ago and had enjoyed it much. I have a thing for magical realism and descriptions that read like poetry.

I have mixed feelings about the film. On one hand, some of the visuals were absolutely stunning. These scenes were infused with color and were just radiant. Others were a little less than stellar. Namely the flashbacks. Often times they seemed flat and had that low-budget-made-for-t.v. feel.

Whenever a movie is translated from a book into a film, I am usually surprised at what they decided to keep and what they decided to discard. It really shows what is important to the filmmakers and what's not... which doesn't always mean everyone meets eye to eye. For instance, in the book, the character named Tilo is in the form of an old woman that had been burnt. Having this, I think, makes the relationship between the love interests more interesting and dynamic. It's not just, boy sees pretty girl and falls in love.

Ultimately, I loved the book and only kind of liked the film. It's not perfect in my mind and could use a little umph, but it'll be a great movie to work to. It has worked wonders on inspiring my appetite for Indian cuisine. Check it out, if you've got the time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gluttony...

It's been a long week! My day-job has been super busy. All is made better now by this find: Häagen-Dazs' caramelized pear and toasted pecan ice cream. When I did find this Manna from Heaven... I bought all they had. It's not right... but it's okay.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Goodies...

I'm working on some new projects. I'm not going to elaborate too much on the nature of them. However, I will show a picture and say that everything is 100% recycled.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thank You...

I just wanted to post a little note thanking EVERYONE who has supported Stringing for a Cure! Firstly, I'd like to thank the winners of the auctions! Your generosity will help Rachel and her mother reach their goal and support the fight against breast cancer. Secondly, I'd like to extend my great appreciation to all those who valiantly bid, but did not win. Thank you for showing your encouragement and for trying. Last, but not least, I would like to warmly acknowledge all of you out there who helped spread the word and made this fund-raiser a success! Each of you who posted to your blogs, forwarded the email, and let others know are truly a blessing. Thank you all a thousand times over... my words do not properly express how extremely grateful I am.

TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Approaching Zero Hour...

The online auctions benefiting Rachel Stokoe's goal of participating in the 3 Day Journey (a fund-raising event for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust) are ending soon! There's still time if you're looking to make any last minute bids. Don't delay! Along with helping Rachel, you'll also receive one of four necklaces I've made that have appeared in Stringing Magazine. Support the Cause! Be responsible for the Cure! Together we can make a difference!

CLICK HERE to bid on Child of Morning.

CLICK HERE to bid on Smile Rising.

CLICK HERE to bid on Treasure Net.

CLICK HERE to bid on Golden Secret.

Good luck to everyone who is bidding!

And remember, even if you don't win... there's still an opportunity to help. CLICK HERE to donate directly to this very worthwhile Cause.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Day-Light Savings...

I am not good with dates or times. I think it's a cop out to blame being an artist. Many great artists have been perfectly capable of telling time and even designing time pieces and doings calendars and creating charts that relate to Time. I, however, am not one of them. I like the idea of owning your own Time and not being a slave to it and letting things flow about you. It's probably not a good thing to admit, but I'd be lying if I said any different.

Speaking of days...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Walk in the Park...

While at the museum, a friend and I ran into one of our college cronies, Max Lust. It was good to see him and catch up a bit. You can see some of his cartoon adventures by CLICKING HERE. The weather had cleared up a bit. Although still drizzly, the park was right there and perfect for an afternoon stroll.

Above is a picture of one of my most favorite places: the Bethesda Pavilion. In summer I come here to lay out on the grass and watch the fireflies in the early evening, or watch the swans swimming by, or the dragonflies hovering over head. It truly is a magical place.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude finally got The Gates in the Ramble! Well... actually they didn't. This is just construction netting up for the restoration of the Lake. During the showing of the Gates, they were not allowed to put them up in the Ramble as it's a bird sanctuary.

This is one of the statues that was built into the Bethesda Pavilion of an owl. With statues, I always imagine what they've seen and try to vicariously experience the secret and silent existences that they have. Did this owl see the frail woman in her 70's doing a ballet piece on skates dressed in a purple leopard-print leotard as well?


No one believes that I can speak bird (even though I can speak one or two dialects). Usually, they just hack it up to me being eccentric. However, if you were to have been there, you would have seen me chirping to all the little chickadees. From all the surrounding bushes, they flew and gathered around me. I wasn't just talking to myself... they were listening back. Here's a shot of a few of them doing just that.

The National Design Museum...

I ended up having the day off! It was a rather rainy day off, but nonetheless quite enjoyable. After brunch at Moto, Chris, a friend, William and I headed to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. We originally wanted to go to the Whitney, but thought that going to the opening weekend of the biennial would be sort of silly and crowded. Instead we delved into the world of Rococo and design.

One of my favorite things at the museum was apart of the exhibition of works from the permanent collection called, A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden. It was masterfully illustrated and very whimsical. I also really dug the English mourning jewelry made of human hair.

Stringing for a Cure: Two Days Left...

A little over two days remain to help Rachel reach her goal of participating in the 3 Day Journey benefiting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust. I've donated four necklaces featured in Stringing Magazine to be auctioned off and the ends of the auctions are FAST APPROACHING! Bid generously to help support the cause!

Bid to SAVE LIVES! Bid to SUPPORT RESEARCH! Help FIGHT BREAST CANCER!
MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY!


"Treasure Net" originally appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine.

"Inspired by the treasures found in the depths of the wine-dark sea, this funky and fun necklace showcases an eclectic mix of finds. Cast your own net and create a truly unique addition to any jewelry box."




"Golden Secret" originally appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine.

"What clandestine secret does this antique key unlock? Only the wearer of this gilt necklace - long and luscious - will know the answer."






"Smile Rising" originally appeared online as a companion to the Spring 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine.

"This sparkling carnelian and polished coral necklace evokes the warmth of a day of basking in the sun with the promise of spring as a backdrop, as an almost-smile spreads across the wearer's face."




"Child of Morning" originally appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine AND was featured ON THE COVER!

"With luminous borosilicate glass, glittering faceted pearls and flashy rose gold leaves, rosy-fingered Dawn hangs with graceful movement and elegant sophistication. Wrap this lariat around your neck for a truly vogue and versatile piece!"

CLICK HERE to BID for
CHILD OF MORNING!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Illustration Friday: Garden...

This is my submission for this week's Illustration Friday's theme: Garden. It's a fairly quick one, but I wanted to get back in the swing of making new pieces for each week's challenge. I've titled it, "In Brooklyn's Garden of Earthly Delights." It's a play on the title of Bosch's painting. With this piece, I've tried to incorporate a lot of different techniques - bridging different modes that I've been working in. I also wanted to provoke questions of various layers of reality (what's real, what's not) and to explore the metaphor of "the garden."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Amy Wilson Multiples...



My friend, the wonderful Amy Wilson, sent these to me! I love them. They are two of the multiples that she has done in correspondence to the Miami Art Fairs. CLICK HERE to read about their histories and how they came about. I like how she's given them away in the past to the people she's meet at the fairs. In the face of something as commercial and consumerist-driven as the art fairs, there is something subversive and genuine about them. They're GREAT!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Project Runway Finale...

This year I was in Tucson during Fashion Week and was unable to go to the Project Runway finale at Bryant Park in person. However, we headed over to Jenny and Sisha's to watch the finale with some beers and pizza. Overall, I was really impressed with what the designers came up with. I was particularly fond of Christan's designs. So, I'm glad he won.
Left: Christian's winning model sporting a look that helped him cinch victory.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Owl Bottle Cap Bead...

I've been saving up bottle caps since Bead & Button. While in Tucson I turned them in to the delightful Cathy Collison of Glass Garden Beadworks. To the left is my PRIZE! My very own owl bottle cap bead made from Hitachino Nest caps. I love it! CLICK HERE to see the article from Stringing Magazine.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Stringing for a Cure...

To help Rachel reach her goal of participating in the 3 Day Journey benefiting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust, I've donated four necklaces featured in Stringing Magazine to be auctioned off.

Bid to SAVE LIVES! Bid to SUPPORT RESEARCH! Help FIGHT BREAST CANCER!
MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY!


"Treasure Net" originally appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine.

"Inspired by the treasures found in the depths of the wine-dark sea, this funky and fun necklace showcases an eclectic mix of finds. Cast your own net and create a truly unique addition to any jewelry box."




"Golden Secret" originally appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine.

"What clandestine secret does this antique key unlock? Only the wearer of this gilt necklace - long and luscious - will know the answer."






"Smile Rising" originally appeared online as a companion to the Spring 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine.

"This sparkling carnelian and polished coral necklace evokes the warmth of a day of basking in the sun with the promise of spring as a backdrop, as an almost-smile spreads across the wearer's face."




"Child of Morning" originally appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine AND was featured ON THE COVER!

"With luminous borosilicate glass, glittering faceted pearls and flashy rose gold leaves, rosy-fingered Dawn hangs with graceful movement and elegant sophistication. Wrap this lariat around your neck for a truly vogue and versatile piece!"