Friday, December 10, 2010

What a Cool Way to Start the Year!!!

Put on your dancing shoes for the new year...because the coolest project for 2011 is "the Sketchbook Challenge !!! (Not to be confused with the Sketchbook Project!) I was planning on starting a new art journal this year, but when I heard about this awesome project, I want to jump on board and encourage any fellow sketchers to come along!

 Each month, a theme will be chosen. Then some of the most well-known art journalers and instructors will share their processes and journal pages with us. Talk about an inspiring 2011!!! You can post your entries, as well as be awed by what Sketch Challenge artists and fellow artists from around the world have created!

Check out the December 6th entry on this blog: The Sketchbook Challenge: Welcome to the Sketchbook Challenge! to find out all the details. You can also meet the Sketchbook Challenge artists on The Sketchbook Challenge blog and hear about their favorite materials, processes, and philosophies. There are give-aways and prizes involved as well.
What a win-win way to bring artists together and keep us excited about sticking to our art journals in the upcoming year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Place to Explore Creativity

Though Columbus Circle looked tempting to visit on Black Friday, I spent a sparky day browsing the inspiring sketch book entries of "The Sketchbook Project" at the brand new Art Library in Williamsburg Brooklyn!!! It just opened November 20th.

It's located here at 103A N.3rd St.

When you walk in, you see all kinds of new and retro blank journals and books for sale. There are also shelves, as you see on the left, of the sketch book journals entered from past and current "Sketch book Projects." (See Sept. 24th blog entry for annual project details.)

There are also friendly librarians to help you in the back of the library.

There are many journals to browse through. How exciting it is to see how each entry has such a unique perspective to it. Some found unusual ways to make the covers and pages their own, some were 3D, some 2D, some plain on the outside---yet loaded on the inside, some even did as much sketching as they felt like and left the rest blank.

But, you can see...there are many more shelves just waiting for YOUR sketch book entry!

You can sit at a table and leaf through as many journals as you wish for as long as you'd like...or just come in and check out the cool retro journals and books from other countries and eras on display that are for sale.
The journals I saw were from all levels and age group of artist. Some were filled with how-to's of collage and fiber art techniques, some were filled with current teenage interests and heartthrobs, some had very touching illustrated stories in them, some were funny, some blatent, some sad, some included breath-taking artwork and photographs...the sketch books were as diverse as the people who created them.

I am so thrilled there is a library where we can explore how creatives express themselves and that the Art House Co-op has created so many opportunities for people to be a part of.
Bookmark this site if you want to become a part of the cool projects Art House Co-op offers Projects Open For Participation » Art House Co-op | We build art projects and communities

If you can't make it to this library and would still enjoy a creativity fix, check out the sketch books posted online. There are some brilliant creatives in our world and I'm so thrilled Art House Co-op has given everyone the opportunity to express their creative voice.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Meeting Your Hugest Art Influence

In my May 10th 2009 blog entry, I mentioned the book that forever influenced my art life. I neglected to mention the author of that book. How could I do such a thing?!!! Probably because she deserves her own separate blog entry.
Meet Julie Schafler Dale. She has a beautiful gallery on the East side of Manhattan where she sells the most gorgeous wearable art out there today. Some of the wearable artists in her book, Art to Wear Art to Wear (9780896596641): Julie Schafler Dale, Otto Stupakoff: Books (which came out in 1986), are still at it and it's fascinating to see their artistic evolution over the decades. Even the machine knit jacket Julie is wearing shows the evolution of Linda Mendelson's work. Julie Artisans' - Linda Mendelson
I just love when someone has such passion for art that they live it through creating a gallery, a book and a lifestyle...and they are kind enough to allow you to live one of your dreams by allowing a snapshot taken of you with the person who most influenced your art life.
From reading the reviews of Julie's book on Amazon, I know I'm not the only one Julie has ignited with a wearable art spark! Not only has Julie Shafler Dale influenced our art by sharing her passion...but she is proof that when we share our sparks a flame in the hearts of many who we may or may never meet.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Empty Nest UFO Completion Syndrome

I have to admit, finishing this Bodacious Bead Book project feels like letting go of a friend who I spent quality time with daily. This dear friend is now complete without me and we will go our separate ways. Ever feel that way about a good book you were reading? But, now you are better for having spent the time together.
I chose to put a martini on the front cover and coffee on the back because I've been striving to BE a person (inside and out) who felt somewhere in between what drinking an alcholic beverage and a stimulating cup of coffee feels like. And the fringe on the binding represents all the chaos and repetitious bits of life in-between our dreams and goals that may get in the way of how we strive to BE.  I love the quiet clinking sound the fringe makes when brushing my fingers through it.  It's good to make friends with the chaos and find its attractiveness. 
I guess I can clean my house now or finish another of the deluge of UFOs waiting for attention. And now I can view my bead book friend from afar and every time I see it, it'll remind me how I strive to BE in the daily chaos that makes us forget.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Beaddiction I Never Want to Recover From

This is my back cover of the "Bodacious Beading Class" sample book project taught online by Beading Instructor and Artiste Extrodinaire, Liz Kettle, last July. (To explore her site and blog click on the "Liz Kettle" link in my sidebar under "Links for the Texture/Color Hungry.")

What an inspiring, thorough, and supportive teacher she is! I know she gives other online classes as well as retreat classes, so check out her site if you want to become a beading addict online or in person. (Liz is famous for causing bead addiction in unsuspecting students.)

I am patiently coming to the finish line for completing this cool, squishy, sample book project Liz dreamed up, so I will post the competed project very soon!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Way Cool Project!!!!

My sweety daughter and her wonderful boyfriend turned me on to this project. (Be patient with the ad before the video clip.) Check it out....The Sketchbook Project: 2011 » Art House Co-op | We build art projects and communities

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Show, Don't Tell

I had to share what blessed the parking lot at the Stitches convention this year. This van is far cooler than the Partridge Family bus! No secret about what this knit shop is passionate about!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Celebrating Indy Day

I decided this year to celebrate Indy Day by beading the holiday on fabric. Of course, Eckhart Tollecat, decided to take a nice, long nap in the vellux-lined box where I keep my loose beads, needles, beading thread and scissors. Eckhart Tollecat was named appropriately as he keeps me in the now. Kitty message to us all: It's always important to take breaks in life and acknowledge those who love you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Visit to Lion Brand Yarn Studio

Knitted cozy bike rack parking...

...being welcomed with knitted cozy door handles

...knitted bathroom door sign

                                     ...enjoying Amigurumi Club sardines from exhibit
...creativity of salesrep exudes from her knit swatch skirt and knit accessories

...window display of knit and crocheted lion in creative needlework garden complete with needlecrafted sun and sign

...beautiful display of inspirational yarn knitters trying on their newly learned skills. Watch out world!

I just had to visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on my short NYC culture-fix visit. They were kind enough to allow me to take photos to post on my blog. First of all, it was a Sunday and right before opening time, there were many people waiting to get into the shop. Inside, there was a class of brand new knitters that had been going on for an hour before opening time.

The shop was decorated with all kinds of creative displays from the huge lion in the creative garden window display to the Knitta Please-flavored door handle covers. Outside was a knitted bike rack cover also a la Knitta Please. Inside was a knitted "pull" sign on the bathroom door, reminding us that with creativity we can make whatever it is we need without always having to go to a store to find a manufactured version! The beautiful wooden floors led the way to gorgeous and colorful displays of various yarns. There was also a sample section to test drive different types of yarn. My favorite was the Amigurumi Club exhibit where you see my daughter opening a can of crocheted sardines. Even the young women working there wore creatively crafted outfits like this lovely saleslady with a skirt that had swatches all over it.
I'm very glad I visited this shop. Online it looks pretty, but in person, besides being pretty, it also gives off such a limitless creative flair that you leave the shop, not only purchasing some cool products, but very creatively inspired. The Lion Brand Knit Shop is located at 34 W 15th St. Check their website, for hours (to be safe with your plans) because I know sometimes they have unexpected hour changes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pushing the Boundaries of What We Know

What does this video clip have to do with knitting? Everything has to do with knitting. To me, this clip says, "Take risks...try new things...see potential in your environment where you can take your knitting. Don't just stick to tested designs or materials....try out your own path of exploration. Take your skills to places they've never been before." Danny MacAskill is proof that focused action takes us to places we never knew were possible!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Your Yarn Shop is All Around You!!!

Even though I run a knit shop where I sell nice yarn...I LOVE when people get creative with materials they use as yarn. Recycling is such a loving thing to do for our planet. Besides that, it's such a high to discover materials you may have never expected to turn into a cool fabric! I know "plarn" has been around for years. So has cutting up tee shirts and weaving, knitting or crocheting them into items. But, the world is a fiber opportunity. What unusual objects can you use to create fabric???

Monday, March 29, 2010

High Tech or Old School?

I spent a month rehashing my bookbinding skills. I haven't bound a book in about five years. It's amazing how skills disappear when you haven't used them in a while. It's also interesting how they return after some trial and error of trying to remember. I have a graphic artist friend who says that if graphic artists don't keep up with the latest software they can end up in the dark ages as far as catching up. I also see how on Project Runway they have the coolest high tech methods they didn't have when I went to fashion design school. Did you see that episode where designers designed their own fabric on the computer???? I was drooling!!!!
I bet there are some bookbinding skills and materials that have evolved since I've last bound a book. Knitting amazes me, too, how new trends, inventions and ways of doing things evolve when you're not looking. The decision to create with what you already have or keep up with the latest trends is as diverse as humans are. I kind of prefer a balance of both. I guess whatever keeps us creating is what's best.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Forever Leaving Us In Shock

What a shock to hear that Alexander McQueen took his life! "Shock" and "McQueen" have always been two words that weren't unusual to hear in the same sentence. His designs and shows were such a surprise-filled expression of the creative genius he was.
I've long been a fan of his sculptural, surreal creations....always at the edge of my seat waiting to see what he'd come up with to top himself.
A self-proclaimed "pink sheep of the family," McQueen strived to design with this philosophy:
"Clothes and jewelry should be startling, individual. When you see a woman in my clothes, you want to know more about them. To me, that is what distinguishes good designers from bad designers."
He left us wanting to know more about him as well. It was amazing to me how he usually dressed very plain at his shows and let his designs command all the attention. It seemed he even felt uncomfortable taking in the applause at the end of his shows. I am grateful that he followed his path and did such a brilliant body of work to keep designers inspired for lifetimes to come.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thank you, Mrs. Chamberlain!

My first memory of intentionally making a gift to give to someone was when I was 3 years old. I got two pieces of that cardboard that came in my dad's shirts when they were dry cleaned, I jiggled 5 pennies out of my piggy bank (all "wheaties" because it was the 50s,) I took some Saran wrap from Mom's kitchen (they didn't have the stick-to-itself kind yet,) and I used that yellowing scotch tape (they hadn't yet invented what they called "magic tape" that you could write on, that also wouldn't yellow.) My big discovery at age 3...if you fold scotch tape over into a loop, it holds one item to another! ( I still, to this day, love the discoveries we make while working on projects...those creative ephiphanies that we only find while in the process of creating!)

I don't exactly know what this gift item was that I made, but I know the feeling it gave me. Pennies, to me, at age 3 were exciting because they meant the opportunity to buy candy at the candy store in town. Cutting the windows in the cardboard and covering them with plastic was my first architectural attempt, as I had watched my dad, the architect, design windows many a time. I also liked windows because they protected, yet revealed the exciting pennies. The whole project was held together with tape.

When the project was complete, I skipped over next door to Mrs. Chamberlain's house. She was 93 and lived alone. I rang her doorbell and said, "This is for you!"

You would've thought I gave her a million dollars! She was so grateful and complimentary of the work I had just given her. I will never forget the glowing feeling that gave me to design and make a gift and watch how it made its recipient feel! I am in deep gratitude to Mrs. Chamberlain for starting that spark in my life at age 3 because designing gifts is one of my most favorite things to do. Creating gifts has especially returned to my life in this economically challenging time. I also learned that not everyone appreciates an original gift. Not everyone thinks about the process of making an idea manifest and the love that goes into creating it. So, we have to be discerning and have no expectations of the reaction they get.

Do you remember your first gift creation experience? Is there someone who gave you such a touching reaction to something you created that it sparked a flame for life? Do tell.