Sunday, July 30, 2006

Finally Finished...

I ended up bringing the Swarovski piece with me to New York to finish up. I only had a little bit of wire-wrapping left. I'm satisfied with how it turned out.

Here is what I wrote about it:
This design was created to explore the different qualities of the Swarovski crystals incorporated as well as make a statement about modern femininity. I've used gold-filled and copper wire in funky wire wraps, to juxtapose the clean precision of the crystal cuts, as well as hand-crafted pmc to emphasize the prestine structure of the Swarovski cut crystals. Flowers were once seen as symbols of womanly nature. I've used bold colors and an unconventional design to give a fiery feeling -
expressing in crystal a mantra of empowerment. The copper chain used in this design liberates the crystals and provides both movement and contrast, instead of holding down or subjugating. This design was made for the modern woman, who appreciates both beauty and boldness.

In any event, the piece is finally finished and I've sent off the registration. Hopefully I'll win. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New York State of Mind...

Just leaving a quick note. I'm typing this from an internet cafe in Astor Place. I'm back in New York for the week apartment hunting.

I know that it gets ridiculously hot here, but I think I forgot how it felt to be ridiculously hot.

Oh yes, there's nothing like being in a city where (within 15 minutes) an old Chinese man hits on you on the bus. And getting the first smell of the subway system in summer... priceless.

I am glad to be back, but the energy is tripping me out a little bit. Also, I saw a bunch of little kids... all wearing over-sized orange t-shirts and holding hands while crossing the street. Super cute. Makes me miss Azalea.

Anyways, on with the (apartment) hunt!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fast As You Can...

I haven't taken a break in a long time, so today, Sheila, Azalea and I watched a movie. Cynthia had rented Cassonova for us. It was all right. I really enjoyed the scenery and the backgrounds. Some movies I just like for the way they look. I don't know if I'd watch this movie again, but there were a couple of funny parts and it was very visual.

The rest of the day, we discussed what exactly I was planning to do after New York. The question lingers in the air... what will I do after New York? Everything is still pretty much up for debate. I haven't gotten to New York yet, let alone determined whether or not I'll be there for a year or for a little longer. I'm still trying to decide.

I think that I'd like to do a bit of traveling. But I also want to go to graduate school and get my masters. I also want to save up some money if I do go to graduate school, and perhaps a year of doing trade shows would help facilitate that. I'm not certain of anything yet and it is too early to decide.

Though I do know that whenever I stay in one place, it eventually begins to influence me greatly. When I was living in New York, I was going a little crazy. The same goes for living here in Asheville. I think the best system is three months here, and three months there and so forth and so on. Just long enough to get a fix, but leave missing what you've left behind.

In any event, we're all planning and I'm trying to get everything done as fast as I can. The funny thing is that I found a box of photographs and I couldn't pass up doing a couple of collages, so I started a mini-series of old, cut-up photographs. I'll post some pictures when I get one done.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Today has been yet another day full of trying to finish up projects while getting ready for the move.

I found another small box full of little tiny collages of monsters that I made a while ago in preparation for another commission. However, after I finished them, I started on a completely different project for that particular buyer and I'm glad of it! I remember showing some of the other monsters I had made and she was completely and totally not interested in them. It's funny how that doesn't seem that long ago, but it must have been over two years ago now.

A good chunk of today has also been reserved for getting in touch with friends from New York. It was so good to hear from them!

I've also been sorting through my clothes and trying to purge my closet of unwanted items. I made up a rule for myself: If I haven't worn it in over three years... then it has to go.
I was kind of surprised by how much stuff is in the pile. The surprising part is that I've moved these articles of clothing from probably four different places. Talk about unwanted baggage. So I've been making a donation pile and trying to eliminate everything that I don't need.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Light Before Day...

This past weekend has been fairly productive. I'm completely exhausted though. I've been trying to get the newsletter together - which has included drumming up submissions, writing articles, formatting layout, editing the submissions (that have come in), and creating templates. Besides that I've been trying to get ready for my leave to New York. I've been sending out emails, trying to find places to crash while I'm apartment hunting and trying to get in contact with both friends and old business associates. Needless to say, I haven't left the computer very much.

I've been sorting through boxes and drawers, getting ready to pack, and I found these art cards I made a while ago. They were originally intended as a commission. However, I ended up doing something completely different and abandoned these cards. Here are a couple of them. They're all about bodies and structure. The tentative title for this body of work is, "The Light Before Day." I have a specific reason why, but I'm going to keep it on the down-low.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Opposite Ideas...

opposite |ˈäpəzit|
1 [ attrib. ] having a position on the other or further side of something; facing something, esp. something of the same type : a crowd gathered on the opposite side of the street.
• [ postpositive ] facing the speaker or a specified person or thing : he went into the store opposite.
• Botany (of leaves or shoots) arising in opposed pairs, one on each side of the stem.
2 diametrically different; of a contrary kind : a word that is opposite in meaning to another | currents flowing in opposite directions.
• [ attrib. ] being the other of a contrasted pair : the opposite ends of the price range.

a person or thing that is totally different from or the reverse of someone or something else : we were opposites in temperament | the literal is the opposite of the figurative.

in a position facing a specified or implied subject : she was sitting almost opposite.

in a position on the other side of a specific area from; facing : they sat opposite one another.
• figurative (of someone taking a leading part in a play or movie) in a complementary role to (another performer).

ORIGIN late Middle English : via Old French from Latin oppositus, past participle of opponere ‘set against.’

This week, the theme for Illustration Friday was "Opposites." I thought it was an excellent challenge, because it doesn't imply any immediate translations. HOWEVER after viewing some of the other artists' illustrations, I became slightly annoyed. I wouldn't say that I'm angry, just that I'm minorly irritated that the most common illustration was "the opposite sex."

I know that most people aren't experts on Gender studies, but the terminology "opposite sex" is completely archaic and out-dated. Males and females are not completely different from one another. Physically there are "equivilent" sexual parts and characteristics. Although overtly different, male and female sex parts can contain similiar functions and structures, especially considering nerve-tissue and vascularity. Both males and females produce "masculine" testosterone and "feminine" estrogen. And what of the one in 1,500 births where there is a noticeable "sex differentiation" that results in an intersexed child?

If the physical and physiological differences are only gradiations of each other, then what's there to judge opposition?

If the answer to that question is mannerisms or traits, then we might as well rewind to a time before women's suffrage and a time full of gender stereotypes. According to this line of reasoning, women should only be allowed to ride side-saddle, not have the right to vote, not wear pants, not have a job that pays money and of course must obey and serve men, their superiors.

We live in a time where the idea of what a male or female should be is left to the individual to determine.

The word "opposite" is rooted in the meaning, "to set against". It comes from the word, "opponere" which is also the origin of the word, "opponent." Is there always supposed to be a battle between men and women? Are the ideas of what a man should be and what a woman should be, always doomed to be so separate? Are we all destined to be opponents "set against" one another? The usage of the terminology, "opposite sex" only reinforces the divisions between the two... the two that are not so different after all. It plays into a culture that over-generalizes and reduces the roles of people to pre-prescribed labels. It effaces and erodes the details which make us unique and who we individually are.

Perhaps my reasoning and logic and thoughts on gender are yet another illustration of an ideological polar "opposite."

(Okay... I'll get off my soap box now.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Illustraion Friday: Opposites...

In approaching this week's challenge, I took a more conceptual route. On the left side, I wanted to embody a more expressive and organic style. I tried to eliminate hard lines by only tearing the background papers and not using rulers or straight-edges. I also made an emphasis on color and more flowing pattern. This side is also significantly more textured.

On the right, I wanted something harder and more analytical. The lines are much more sharp and severe. I implimented a black, white, and gray color palette to draw further distinction from the other side. I've also incorporated a patterned text to make it seem more "word-oriented" as opposed to "image-oriented" left side.

The arrows drive home the idea that these two sides are going in different directions. They are polar from one another.

Confessions of an Addict...

My name is Andrew Thornton and I have a problem. I am an addict. It's true. I'm sorry. I've had this dependency for about a year now. Sometimes I lay in bed, thinking about thiscraving. I know it's wrong, but it just feels so right! It's a slavish obsession, but why resist when it feels so good to indulge?

It's taken a while for me to really confess this. It's hard. But I'm addicted to Anne Choi beads!

Ha! What did you think I was hooked on?

In any event, for the past year, I've been collecting Anne Choi beads. Cynthia got me hooked. She's been collecting them for years now and has an impressive collection. The beads themselves are cast sterling silver. I really enjoy them as little works of art. The best part about them is that they aren't only aesthetically pleasing, but they're also very intelligent. They have sayings on them - little snippets of poetry and quotes from literature. They're just wonderful!

Not only are her beads simply amazing, but so is she! Anne Choi is an Asian Southerner who is both witty and well-educated. She's got a wicked sense of (dark) humor and I just adore her.

You can check out her website here:
  • Anne Choi

  • I had reservations about posting this, as now whoever sees this post will probably become addicted to them as well and therefore become competition in my quest for collecting. Perhaps I will put this post on hide mode!

    In theory, I should be saving my money for my return to New York City and my new apartment, but I saw this particular bead and I just had to have it! She used to make these mandrake roots all the time, but has since moved on to other things. This particular one says, "I'll be this abject thing no more; Love, give me back my heart again. " - George Grenville, Baron Landsdown 1677-1735

    I feel like a dirty junkie saying this, but I don't know what I wouldn't do for a handful of these little goodies!

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Summer Nights...

    Lately, I've been on a very nocturnal schedule. I've always been more of a night person, but since I've been in North Carolina, I've tried to gear my habits more towards day. However, I haven't been able to sleep at nights lately. All I want to do is work when I lay down and it's dark outside. I think I started on this schedule because the studio gets ridiculously hot during the days and is only workable in at night. That and it's more quiet at night.

    Last night, I worked on my Swarovski piece. I've been really struggling with it. Once I had the design I wanted, I realized that it was WAY TOO LONG. It may look nice on a design board, but on a person, it looks like a dangly crystal-encrusted chastity belt. So, I'm having to re-work it. Possibly as a multi-strand necklace.

    It's providing a nice challenge. Each solution to the problems that arise makes it that much better and I think that eventually it'll get to a point where all the issues are resolved and will leave me with a beautiful necklace. I have to hurry up though, because I'm leaving for New York in a couple of days and won't be able to work on it there. I've also got the daunting task of preparing for the move and for arranging housing and what not while I'm there for my trip.

    Undoubtedly, there are solutions to every problem and once solved... everything will be that much better.

    The Book of Lost Love...

    I became friends with a beading artist and editor named Jamie Hogsett. You can learn a little bit more about her here:
  • Jamie Hogsett

  • We've maintained a rather intense correspondence over the past few months. Since we're both creative, we came to the conclusion that we should trade and make works for one another. So, I started working on a book for her. I took the images I drew in the "Watermark" series and collaged them together.
    With my work, I tend to do a lot of editing. One way that I do that is by making works and then revisiting them and taking out different components, often times compressing them down. I then created other abstracted window panels with collage and made other pages. I started off with the concept of things that I've lost (which still might be done at a later date), but it morphed into, "The Book of Lost Love."

    It basically is a stream-of-conscious diatribe about a fictious relationship between two people. The narrator of the "story" creates a world where they can be together. Sort of their own, romantic Deeper Well. The reader eventually comes to the conclusion that the world created is a solitary world, meant for only one.

    The book project I worked on for Jamie is finally finished. Late last night I glued in the end pages and completed it. I added sheets of vellum between each of the pages to reduce sticking. Many of the pages use a lot of gel medium and if you're not careful, humidity and time can cause the pages to become permanently stuck together. To add an extra element, I wrote out definitions of some of the words used in the "story" with archival inks.

    I am satisfied with the results. The book isn't perfect, but it was a good learning process and I've made mental notes on what to do for next time.

    Illustration Friday: Sacrifice...

    This is my first time participating in Illustration Friday. The pelican symbolizes sacrifical love (especially that of a parent for its offspring). Pelicans have pouches from which they feed their young, and it was misunderstood as them pecking open their own chests to feed their baby birds with their own blood.

    The mythos that evolved from this was abundant. In some cases, the baby bird had already died and the parent pelican was reviving it with its heart-blood to bring the little one back to life. This has a very "Christian over-tone" and was adopted by many Medieval Christians. One of the saints, I think Saint Gertrude, had a vision of Christ as a pelican performing this same task.

    The collage was done fairly quickly and is a little rough, but I've got projects up to my ears that I have to finish!

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Thank You...

    I had another late night, which was very productive. I ended up making a series of 12 "Thank You" cards that I plan to send out.

    For me, it is important to stay in touch with people. That's one of the reasons that I started this blog. It's an opportunity to communicate, and I just love that. I used to write at least one letter to someone everyday. I've been really bad about that lately.

    Sharing my work with people who I love and respect is the best. I don't know if validation is the right word, but it is the closest word I can think of that comes nearest to capturing the full meaning of it all. I wouldn't say that acceptance is the right word, because I don't make the work I do to be accepted. The approval of my peers is often enjoyed, but not necessary. I think what it really comes down to, is creating a reciprocating cycle. It is a wheel of creativity and inspiration and I like to keep it moving.

    Hopefully these cards will do just that! The pictures to the right are a few of the cards I completed.

    Peaches and Dreams...

    It's funny how time seems to just slip away from me every now and then.

    I thought that I could lay down for two hours and then get back up, but my body protested. As soon as I got up, I got a splitting headache and my eyes started to burn. The only thing for me to do was lay back down and rest a little longer. While I was dreaming, Sheila and Cynthia went to the Farmer's Market and picked up some peaches.

    You can check out the Farmer's Market website here:

    When I woke up, I was in peach heaven. They're so ripe that we're going to have to use them right away!

    I finally fired the PMC pieces that I made for the Swarovski competition. It's a little frustrating, because I know the finish that I wanted, but I could only get it on one piece. Instead of gold plating or using gold PMC, I was going to patina the metal with liver of sulfur to make it a shimmery gold. I've done it before. This time, however was different and instead of a sparkly light gold, they're more of a dark copper color. I'm going to have to work that into the design somehow.

    Right now I'm just busy trying to get everything that I've started settled.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Of Words and Wars...

    In other news, we've got book fever here at the Green Girl Household. Cynthia has been working on the Creative Living manual and I've been brainstorming on exactly what I want to contribute to it. I have some projects in mind, but we'll see. I've made some notes and started some samples, but I want something that is both useful and unique.

    I've also come up with the idea for a new book that I want to do on my own. It's basically the high fashion version of a beading book. I want to create something that's super funky, hip, and appeals to a different demographic. I've talked with a couple of designers so far and they've been really supportive. I think when I'm back in an urban setting it'll be much easier to create a book about urban issues. But as with the other book, I'm making notes and trying to create a solid foundation before I really make anything.

    Recently, I accepted the position as editor for the newsletter. I'm working on some drafts for them to check when they get back from Ohio. Hopefully they like my ideas. I have big plans for the newsletter and what it'll eventually become.

    Sheila and I were talking about how when we were in high school, we were a lot more book-smart. In particular, I used to be able to write award-winning articles that were edgy, concise, and (seemingly) well-planned in about 20 minutes. Now I labour over my letters. Writing is like training an athlete, or better yet, a warrior. It takes practice to build up deadly accuracy and brutal energy. Who knew that all these little sentences and words were training for a bigger war?


    All this inspiration has meant that I haven't been sleeping very much. I didn't go to bed until a little after noon. I wanted to finish up the PMC pieces that I am sculpting for my Swarovski competition piece. The deadline is coming up shortly and I've been trying to work on that in addition to my other projects. I've been having problems with dealing with the "BLING BLING" factor of the Swarovskis. I'm not opposed to things that sparkle and shine, but making a design that utilizes 80% is a bit tough. I want to create a unique piece that emphasises the qualities of the Swarovskis by juxaposing them with other materials, but still falling well within the guidelines. Goodness knows that winning this competition would be a blessing. I think the PMC pieces will add just what it needs.

    Pictures of the finished project will be added once it too is completed.

    After a few hours of sleep, I got up and talked with Sheila. She is moving with me to New York and we will be sharing an apartment. It shall be interesting to see how that will work out. I am both nervous and excited about going back. I have hope that everything will work out for the best. I must confess that I had my reservations about living with Sheila when talking with her when she was in India. She was dating someone who I think was very unhealthy for her and it really affected her. Now, since she is not seeing him any longer, I think she has come back around to herself a little more. I am happy that she'll be going with me.

    A Question of Finishing...

    Lately, I have been really productive. I guess I see that my time here in Asheville is almost at an end, and I want to create as many things as possible. Part of me feels guilty about this, as it is so isolating and I have withdrawn a bit from the family scene. It's not very often that all of us "kids" are together and I should take advantage of the time that we all have together.

    One of the projects that I'm working on is tentatively called, "Watermark." I don't know where I came up with the concept. I started out by making rather abstracted windows which were then sewn into pages of a book. These pages were then illustrated with drawings I did of Medieval woodcuts of towns and cities. After that, I started very loosely watercoloring them, but I'm not sure if I'm really happy with the results.

    Over a year ago, I started working on a series called, "Afterglow." This series is made up of a hundred collages made from the work I've done over the past five years. It's kind of like the "Resurrection" series, but on a smaller scale and only with works on paper. The "Resurrection" series dealt more with the works I did on canvas and creating HUGE quilts of cut up canvas (I would then go back and paint on some of them, usually self-portraits). I think though that I've reached a plateau with the work and want to shelve it until I feel that I can revisit it with a clean psyche. A lot of the work I did a few years ago dealt with sexual violence, in particular - the violence done towards me. Now that I've sort of closed that chapter on my life, I don't necessarily want to revisit it. I know that it is the nature of my work, but right now I want to move on to other projects.

    It's funny because I've tried to revisit the "Afterglow" series with a smaller series of 19 woven collages that branched out from the parent imagery. These woven collages were done while we in Florida and at the time I thought that a combination of the heat and the family dynamics were why I couldn't focus. I think that I have a strong start... it's just now a question of finishing them.

    I'm also working on another series of about 68 pieces. I haven't titled the body yet, but it is similiar in technique to "Afterglow" - it just examines different aspects of my life during that time. I wanted to use these pieces in particular to move out of my comfort zone, but we'll see. Believe it or not, I can draw and paint and want to actually delve back into it. I really want to reclaim my imagery. Once I'm more focused, I'll finish some of the pieces and post a few of them on here.

    Right now, I feel as though my cup is full of inspiration. I've been working like mad and making a lot of progress... now it's all about how I bring it all together.

    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    The Deeper Well...

    When I make work, I dip into a place I call, "the Deeper Well." This is a quiet place, full of reflection. It is an internal domain where my thoughts are rippling out before me, creating images and pictures. Here, I am at peace, drinking from the fount of creativity. Though, as with most things, it isn't all sweets and candy. The danger is drowning here - becoming so involved in my own little world that I can't escape the waves that I, myself, have made. It is also difficult to determine what is real and concrete, and what is created of my own device.

    Welcome to the Fold...

    I've had an online journal for years now, but have only recently made the transition over to "blogging" at the suggestion of a good friend of mine. Hopefully I will be able to utilize this as a productive and creative center. I find that it is always very liberating to just THINK OUT LOUD!

    Oh, Cynthia, my sister, also just started her own blog. You can see her's at:

  • All in all, I am really excited. I feel very creative and very motivated. A lot of things are changing and changing rather drastically, but I have faith that everything will work out for the best.