Category

My Artist Home

Gilding the Lily

By | My Artist Home, Personal Her-story

As you know, I’ve been spending a lot of time setting up my Sewing Studio and Big Ass closet and I’m very excited to have finally finished and to have the two combined into one space.
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It makes sense for me. Not that I spend any time sewing clothes. The most I’ve done is take normal jeans and make them skin tight — and that highlights my explicative vocabulary more than it does my “tailoring” skills. I just love to embellish things. To decorate them. (Run Lily, run, she’s got the gold paint!)

Here are some pages from one of my early Inspiration Books. Bear in mind “archival” was not a term with which I had any familiarity in 1977…
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Jewelry is the cherry on top of the sartorial sundae and an opportunity to play with color and pattern and have a little fun with this serious business of dressing ourselves. As you can guess, jewelry plays a big role in both my Sewing Studio and my Big Ass closet. I love to wear it and I love to make it. These are some hand sewn and beaded cuff bracelets I made.
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My Freshman year in college I studied Jewelry Design with Don Douglas at Boise State University. What a dear man. He let me spend hours in the studio outside of class time laboring over my complex designs which were far beyond my skill level.
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At the end of the year he gave me a “D” for technical skill, an “A+” for originality and design, and a recommendation to study with John Marshall at the University Of Washington in Seattle.

At UW I did start out as a BFA Metals Major, but quickly moved from Marshall whose specialty was hollowware, to Ramona Solberg who oversaw jewelry. Ramona Solberg was an amazing jewelry designer, but by the time I became her student, her love of teaching had fled. I changed my degree to BA Art, graduated two and a half years after I’d begun, and got on with my life.

My first “art job” was selling my Baker’s Clay (salt dough) jewelry at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Many of my designs were based on the patterns on the backs of beetles. This is the page I painted to use as templates for myself from a big book of beetle photographs belonging to my parents.
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At the Market my regular fans were the Indians who slept on the street and bummed cigarettes off me, but I had one brush with greatness. Sherry Markovitz bought my work. Man, I wish I had just one of her beaded animal heads.
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Instead her work lives on inside my head. There’s no question her art continues to influence me years later at a deep level. I haven’t thought about all of this stuff for a long time. It’s good to shake things up, stir up a little dust storm, find stuff you’ve long forgotten and figure out new ways to use it.

Now that everything is in one room and all my materials and my inspiration for outfit combinations are in one place I imagine both my wardrobe and my vocabulary are going to get a lot more expansive and way more colorful!

Bean by Bean

By | My Artist Home

We like to repeat a saying around our house: “Bean by bean, the pot is filled.” Just a reminder that things get accomplished little by little and most of the time it’s as slow, and as mundane as filling a pot with beans. Not very glamorous but ultimately satisfying.

This is really how I wanted to spend my day today:
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But I worked on the new Sewing Studio and Big Ass closet instead, and little by little, things are getting accomplished…
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The closet is filled, and the Sewing Studio is done, except for the details (more sequins, beads and buttons, than beans)…
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And now the day is done and soon it’ll be time to make dinner.

I wonder what I should make tonight?
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Home wasn’t Built in a Day

By | My Artist Home

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The door on the left used to lead to my Sewing Studio. Now it leads to our guest room and workout closet (stay tuned for a tour in a future post) where Logan is staying for the next two weeks until he can officially move into his new home, which is getting homier every day.

The door on the right leads to what used to be Logan’s apartment and will become Mike’s painting studio, our office, our shared art studio, and our overflow big dining room. Right now it looks like this:

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Today I will be taking all of this…

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as well as the contents of my current closet:

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and moving them into what used to be Logan’s bedroom in Logan’s apartment which is directly below the guest room/work out closet where Logan will live for the next two weeks which used to be my sewing studio and which will now become my new sewing studio and big ass closet. QED

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Home wasn’t built in a day, but if this one isn’t completely transformed in two weeks I’ll turn in my Action Girl cape and insignia and never brag about my super powers again.

Orange you glad it’s Fall!

By | Holidaze, My Artist Home

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The 1st of October I put Danny Elfman’s soundtracks for Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, and all the others on my iPod on repeat. I start sneaking Reese’s Cups, crave Pumpkin Spice lattes and watch endless marathons of Vampire Diaries, Lost Girl, and Walking Dead on Netflix. I plan escapist afternoons watching my Van Helsing, Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic, and Trick or Treat DVDs, to say nothing of all the Tim Burton films Danny Elfman’s soundtracks above accompany. I am a happy girl.

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Of course the house gets a Fall spiffing and for inspiration I needn’t look any further than outside my front window…
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Inside we get cosy. I put away the summer cottons and take down the screens from the windows. I bring out the Indian bedspreads, the faux fur throws, and the spicy potpourri to put around the candle.

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The faux pumpkins join the party too. I’m actually a big fan of faux. When you are on a limited budget there’s nothing like buying a decent fake once and having it for years. We’ve had the same Christmas tree for over 20 years (you’ll meet her in a few weeks).

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I think when you invest material things with meaning, especially if you alter them in some way as I do with second hand stuff, that makes them even better. Even if it’s just a pumpkin you glued some fake flowers on and bring out year after year. That’s a good thing. Not a freaking Martha “Good Thing.” It’s a Better Thing than that. I don’t make this stuff up. You have heard of the Velveteen Rabbit? Something about investing that faux thing with meaning makes it come alive. It’s weird I know, but I actually think those pumpkins can’t wait to join the party every October.

Me either! In the meantime though I think I’ll just take a moment to put my feet up and enjoy the view. Orange you glad it’s Fall!

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Painting Studio Tour

By | My Artist Home

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At the other end of the skinny hall upstairs is my painting studio. It has an Eastern exposure and in the mornings when the sun shines through the Ikea stick blinds and throws rainbows off my foil stars it’s Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning every time. Actually, I’m glad sunlight doesn’t really pour in like butterscotch and stick to all my senses because that would be pretty messy, and painting’s messy enough as it is.

My acrylic palette:
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This space, unlike the other two I’ve already shown you will probably stay pretty much the same. I may need to get another small flat top table since I’ll be stealing this one to put into the studio where I work with all things paper but that’s easy enough. Maybe I’ll even find one which requires a little paint job of its own.

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Meanwhile I’ll continue painting anything I can get my hands on, like these objects (which you can see more of over in my website in the Surface Pattern Design section):
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In fact this lonely guy called out to me today at the Antique Mall, and a colorful coat of many colors is definitely in his future. Blue, red, green and gold to welcome you. Crimson crystal beads to beckon!
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