Saturday, November 5, 2011

"The Gift of Art", Gifts of Art, and Some Fancy Pants!

Greetings, denizens of the Blog-O-Sphere!  *eek!*  It's been a bit...  *again!*  However, I think that you will understand my absence a little better after we catch up, here -- in the spirit of 'Fair Warning' I will recommend a comforting beverage of your choice, and a comfy spot for our 'reunion', as it might take a while *wink!*

The Fall, for the past few years, has marked an unlikely acceleration (rather than Nature's suggestion of a general slowing) around here.  Even if you removed the planning and extra work involved in preparation for and hosting of various and sundry Holiday fetes, the last part of the year is a total MaDhOuSe around these parts.  Knowing from having learned this *many times over* it may seem strange to hear that I was, once again, totally amazed by the pace required to keep up of late!  So much for "Live and Learn" - ha!  It seems that my modus operendi would be more like "Live and Live".

Consider "The Gift of Art"
for someone you love
this Holiday Season!
The biggest news is the arrival of a much anticipated tool for great good!  A joint effort to benefit Arts for Life/Durham, The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild presents "The Gift of Art" Calendar for 2012.  This gorgeous, 9x12 in. calendar features a different, vibrant work of art by an Arts for Life child/student at Duke Children's Hospital for each month throughout 2012.  Extra special thanks to the generosity of Victory 500 (for the design), Henry Wurst, Inc. (for the printing), and our own Lynn Creech (for assembling this cast of characters), every dollar from the sale of these calendars goes directly to the funding of artistic educational programming for the children served by Arts for Life!  This has been a most incredible partnership, already, and I am very excited to see what comes from a vast new year that holds "The Gift of Art!"  Calendars will be available through The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild at Art of the Carolinas, November 10th - 13th, at the North Raleigh Hilton in Raleigh, NC; and at Art in The Pines, November 19th, at the Southern Pines Civic Club in Southern Pines, NC. Several Guild members will have them in their booths and displays at area shows and festivals in the coming weeks.  If you are far away, you can have up to three calendars shipped to one address, with delivery confirmation, for $4.95 (United States Postal Service Priority Mail).  Visit our blog, Creativity Rocks, to order online.  We appreciate your interest and support!

Masked & Pasted
light molding paste through
and alphabet stencil
Next up, a Sneak Peek of my contribution to an upcoming collaborative exhibit!  What do you get when you take 25 artists, and give them:  one 12x12 in. canvas, 4 colors of acrylic paint, and free reign (with a few guidelines)?  Well, you get a little thing that my friends over at The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild like to call "CanvaSynergy" -- a collaborative creation that will be unveiled at this years Art of the Carolinas!  The idea was the brain-child of our Vice President (and dear friend) Michelle Davis Petelinz, who drew the unifying design that spanned the 5' x 5' combined canvas area.  The canvasses were then 'mapped' and assigned to each of the participants (who included every discipline from painters to fiber artists to photographers to glass artists -- we are nothing, if not mixed)!  We got to enjoy the spectacle of The Big Reveal at our October meeting.  The general public will get to see it next weekend as we celebrate both the 10th Anniversary of the CMMAG, and our 4th year at AOC!  Is there a big time in store for everyone involved?  10-4, Good Buddy!

Glass Bead Gel, Plus!
Glass Bead Medium by Matisse Derivan
added for increased visual interest
I chose to let the texture do the talking, and augmented my palette with an assortment of acrylic texture mediums (light molding paste, glass bead gel, crackle medium, and glazing medium).  Aside from the worry over WHAT this would end up looking like among its neighbors, I really had fun with the Guild's latest challenge!  I tend to work (some might say 'overly') carefully, anyway; a project such as this really brings out my internal Safety Guard!  I am quite pleased with the outcome, though!  If you are anywhere near Raleigh, NC between November 10th and 13th, you really should come check it out -- your eyes will be glad you did ;-)  This and many other wonderful visual wonders await!

CanvaSynergy by Yours Truly
side detail, vintage buttons tacked to leading edge
Then there was the driving (and driving and driving and driving)...
En Route to Raleigh   --   En Route to Sanford   --   En Route to Greenville
10/13                                10/18                                    10/20
With new creative endeavors on the horizon, there was a welcome respite of 'hunkering down at the homestead' (albeit brief) that found me steadily at the work table.  In addition to a new exploration of color, I am prepping to take a dive into encaustic collage after the first of the year (I can't seem to escape my wax roots, ha)!

Full Spectrum II
from the series "Colorful Convergence"
12x12 in. Mixed Media canvas
on deep cradle, lacquered panel
The next run of *entirely coincidentally* 12 x 12 in. canvases to fly out the door were happy compositions that doubled as charitable donations.  The first, to benefit NCTASH, was much beloved by one of the organizers -- who has requested one of her own *sweet*!  The second, to benefit Arts for Life/Durham, will be auctioned at their Fancy Pants Dance, tomorrow (11/05).  The Guild has sponsored a table, and you can be sure that there will be enough artful goodness and general merriment to merit a post dedicated solely to that adventure!  About these pieces:  this idea, in and of itself, is not mine.  However, unlike the versions that I have seen around (on stretched canvas), I have made what I feel are structural improvements for the betterment of the media.  I mounted a triple primed canvas square onto a deep-cradle, lacquered hardwood panel -- after completing the hot-wax painting, it was sealed *three times* with an archival, satin finish.  Having the work on a rigid surface decreases the likelihood of cracking and wax loss.  Sealing with a satin finish ensures the luster of the wax and removes the matte finish of the canvas -- as an added bonus, the canvas looks even better on the gloss finish of the lacquered panel!  The process of discovery in working with this form has been infectious!  More than once, The Man has *quite excitedly* chimed in with "Oh, and then you could..."  I love the mutual appreciation we have for our vastly different talents!  *OMG!  If we DID dress up for Halloween, we should one day be Left Brain and Right Brain!  We could travel the costume contest circuit!  We could be A'Walky Famouse!*  My stars!  Did I type that out loud?!?  Please forgive me -- like a magpie, I am, when stricken by whimsical notions!

The there was some more driving (and driving, and shopping, and roller-coastering, and friendshipping)...
IKEA, The Famed Meatballs,
A Moment of Giddiness, and Four Fab Friends!
A much needed, long-planned and well-deserved getaway with The B's!  We went to Charlotte:  I had my very first IKEA adventure (the Christmas shopping was much advanced), and we road ALL the roller coasters at Carowinds (a few, more than thrice)!  *AND wrote our own Halloween Carol -- alas, that is not a story for here o.O*  It was a wonderful, whirl-wind weekend with my besties -- and we don't have many of those.  

using vintage doilies
After a bit more driving...  Back on the Acre, and back in The Zone!  The Real Job has reached a new level of greatness, all due to The Man and his Massive Brain.  Many irons in the fire make for active hands and watchful eyes - "It's a good thing!"  It never ceases to amaze me that the more one has to do, the more one gets done!  The latest creative endeavor during my down time has been the 'fancification' of a pair of pants for the aforementioned "Fancy Pants Dance".  On the surface, a few months ago, it sounded simple enough:  Fancy Pants?  No problem!  ...weeelllll, there was the whole finding the pants thing ...and then the figuring out what to do with the pants thing ...and the slight learning curve that came from the never having done what I decided to do thing!  I will let you in on a little secret, my interweb friends:  There are times when it is highly beneficial to be somewhat anal *I'm just sayin'*!  With heartfelt thanks to JR and JC for the needed extra doily goodness, I was able to cut and piece a variety of vintage doilies as stencils.

using vintage, plastic lace
The best details were achieved using a vintage, plastic lace table runner *as it resisted warping from the combination of adhesive spray and moisture from the paint* better than even the heavier paper doilies.  I used various colors of Jacquard's Lumiere light-body acrylic paints (Blue Halo Gold, Blue Pearl, Turquoise Pearl, and Russet Pearl) and two Golden fluid acrylics (Interference Red Oxide and Iridescent Silver Fine) mixed with Liquitex Fabric Medium.  Paints were applied using both foam and nylon brushes - depending on the size of the openings in the doilies.  I will note that when using regular acrylics with the Fabric Medium, I found the iridescence was improved by going over those areas with straight paint while the paint/medium layer was still wet.  As the ol' saw goes:  All's well that ends well.  I am rather pleased with the end result.  I can just hear Hyacinth Bucket intoning:  "Fancy needn't be gaudy, dear!"  I even found a pair of earrings, yesterday, that look like little, silver doilies *oh, snay-up!  Fancy, indeed!*

All of this seems like a gracious sufficiency of 'happenings,' but more awaits me!  Tomorrow I'll be heading to Durham to don my Fancy Pants and Coat of Charmor for the official premiere of "The Gift of Art" 2012 Calendar!  Next weekend will find me, once again, immersed in the 4-day artful spectacular that is Art of the Carolinas (I can hear the buckets, calling me, calling me)!  Needless to say, there will be much more creative frivolity to share with you in the coming weeks.

Well...  If your drink was hot in the beginning, it's bound to be cold (if not gone) by now -- I suppose if it was cold to begin with, the reverse would apply *depending on where you are...*  Yep, yep, yep - it's time for me to head out of here!  Thanks for the visit!  As always, there is more to come!

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"This is your one life.
This is your only time as you...
experience all the good things."
                                      - Maya Angelou
Photo Notes:
   "The Gift of Art" provided by Michelle Davis Petelinz.
   "CanvaSynergy", "Colorful Convergence",  "Fancy Pants", and "Four Fab Friends" taken with Panasonic Lumix (DMC-ZS1) - set to natural light, slow sync/red eye flash.
    Remaining photos taken with Motorola DROID Vignette Demo App, set to random, vintage frames and auto flash.

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Friday, October 7, 2011

Good News, Bad News, and a *peaceful* Happy Ending

An eloquent and worthy Pledge
***please click here!***
For some time now, I have alluded to some ‘big news’ that I was anxious to share with you. I can well imagine you wondering “what’s the big deal? …just tell us, already!” …after all, big news is big news, right!? Why not shout it from the roof-tops? Well… that’s where we veer wildly from the path of ‘normal’ Big News onto the rough and rocky trail of Big News with some particularly odd omissions. In the inimitable words of Uncle Tam, "I've about got brain fever from it all." (Bob Dollar's uncle in Annie Proulx's ever-so-excellent That Old Ace in the Hole)   SO… let’s do it the old-fashioned way, shall we? From the beginning.

ATC - "What Happens @ Art & Soul..."
#1 (back) and #2 (front) of 13
February, 2010
In August of this year, an author whose work I have followed for several years announced, on her Facebook (FB) page, that a ‘sneak peek’ of her latest book was available at Having the first two books in this series, I headed on over to check it out. Upon reading through the first few pages available on the preview, I encountered a page that featured *rather prominently* an image of the ATC that I had made for the event. First reaction: *w00t!* “WOW, my ATC is in the BOOK!” …only natural, right? I returned to FB to say pretty much the same thing! …returning then to the Amazon preview, I scrolled down to the next page. 'Whoa!' The pin I created for the same event was also in the book. Back to FB, again, *now giddy!* “OMG, the pin, TOO?!” I was *quite obviously* very excited!

PIN - "Lucky Notions"
#12 of 13
February, 2010
After bouncing off the walls for a few *okay, several more than actually called for* minutes, grinning like a fool, I was asked a simple, and very logical question by my Beloved: “Did she give you credit?” Nothing out of the way, there - I clicked on the link for the Index… Nope, nothing by name… I chalked it up to that particular page not being included in the preview. I had every confidence that once I got the book *actually held it in my hands,* all of my questions would be answered. Alas, after receiving the book, my question remained. *really? No mention at all?* Oh, and for extra measure: I also discovered, upon holding this treasure in my own hands, one of my pieces was also included in the collage that comprised the cover design – oh, my!

There, in a nutshell, is the ‘why’ behind my not shouting from the roof-tops. I mean, if you weren’t one of the roughly four dozen people who received one of my offerings, these images of my artwork could belong to anybody (?) If I were to attempt to build on this accomplishment, how, when my work is clearly not attributed to me?
   A dilemma, to be sure.

I had to sit for a bit, and give this a good think. After all, we are talking about someone whom I have respected – someone whose work I have enjoyed and followed for years -- someone for whom our Guild has hosted a book signing – someone who has been very vocal about the misrepresentation of the work of other artists. This had to be a mistake! …Right? Deciding to approach this at the source, I wrote an old-fashioned letter – you know: printed on paper, signed with my favorite fountain pen, sent in the mail (copying the Editor). In her reply to my letter (via e-mail, also copying the Editor and Publisher), the author informed me of her “surprise at the formality of my letter and reference to [her] blog posts,” that she “had no part in choosing what went into designing the book and what did not,” and that “[w]e simply felt it was the most fair to not identify anyone.” 

Destination Creativity
This is the same author who had recently intoned: “[t]he thing to keep in mind here is that we’re all part of a wonderful community, built on sharing ideas and inspiration, and that community depends on everyone, from instructors to students, editors to authors, artists to organizers, doing what they already know is the right thing to do.” Following that, within days, with: “Wow. We kind of have a lot to say about what’s right, what’s stealing, [and] what does and doesn’t belong to us, don’t we?” I acknowledge that she is, in these instances, referring to people portraying information and/or work that resulted from taking a class as their own. However, I could not see how one situation is, at its core, any different from the other.

I felt a distinct disconnect in what the author said to me vs. what she had previously stated in the public forum. So, in spite of having been told that I was the only person who had raised such question with the appearance of these works (mine and others) in the book, I persisted in my questioning. This persistence was rewarded with a reply from the Publisher, Christine Doyle of North Light Books. With a fair amount of stress and worry *on my part, anyway,* and a bit more correspondence, a resolution was reached that satisfied virtually everyone! I would like to emphasize that this situation was resolved without any ranting or epithet hurling in the vast reaches of the world wide interweb! There were no
intermediaries -no haranguing - no bombastic posturing. There was a civil exchange of reasoned discourse; through which, an amicable solution was proposed and executed. With additional thanks to Christine Doyle: 

 "I do want to give the artists who created these pieces the recognition they deserve. We, therefore, plan to include the following on all future reprints of the book, on page 139, in place of some of the art in the lower right corner:

     Many thanks to the to the talented retreat-goers who made art pieces to trade with their fellow artist friends and whose striking pieces appear on the pages of this book, including Penny Arrowood, ([and]every other artist we can identify along with page number of where their art appears).   

In the meantime, until the next printing, we will create an addendum that we place on CreateMixedMedia and ShopMixedMedia that includes the above sentence.”

Please read additional details at Notes from the Voodoo Café and  Reciprocally, I would like to publicly state my thanks and sincere appreciation to both the author and the Publisher for the positive and expeditious outcome.
As so beautifully stated by Julie Prichard, it’s all about Respect.

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today: *
 "We are living art
created to hang on, stand up
forbear, continue,
and encourage others."
                                    - Maya Angelou

Photo Notes: 
     "Artists for Respect" badge available here - Read it, Love it, Share it!
     "Destination Creativity - Look Inside" image and link -
     "ATC" and "PIN" taken with Panasonic Lumix (DMC-ZS1) - set to natural light, auto flash.
* with special thanks to JR, MDP, and LS

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
UPDATE (10/12/11):  The Addendum referenced above has been added to Create Mixed Media and to the book page at Shop Mixed Media (where you can find a .PDF as it will appear in future printings).  My sincere thanks to Christine Doyle for her assistance in this resolution.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Last Week and Today...

My Mono Printing Mania
*love, Love, LOVE this tool!*
How very different a day can be, one week apart!  Last Sunday, I hit the road at 10:30am to be in Raleigh (at the lovely and hospitable DiGiulio Studios) for an afternoon of fun with my buddies in the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild.  It was our 3rd Quarter Day of Creative Play; we were to indulge in an afternoon of food, fun, and the fellowship of group creativity.  As they would have said in the small town weekly of my youth "a good time was had by all!"  As a group, the nearly 30 of us on hand enjoyed four (4) brief demonstrations on different *and very fun* art techniques; as individuals, we enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon by trying our hands at each of the workstations.  This is the second year that we have enjoyed such a Mixed Media Round Robin -- and I am fairly certain it won't be the last ;-)

I gave a quick overview of my own accidental discoveries on mono printing; using both my own, homemade alcohol ink sprays and *my newest 'favorite plaything'* the Gelli Arts gel printing plate with basic acrylic paints.  I had several samples in hand, and as I spoke I showed examples of what the different 'tools' I had brought to share yielded in the way of texture and mark-making.  Hard to believe that such simple ingredients can bring forth such varied and colorful results -- but it's true!  The proof is in the printing - ha!

Jeanne's Set-Up for Frisket Fun
Our founder, and master of all things resin, JR, led us through alternate uses for frisket/masking fluid.  Rather than utilizing it merely as a 'masking agent' to preserve the white space beneath *as intended* she showed its fabulous repurposing as a textural ingredient!  With the addition of Jacquard PearlEx powders and Silk Dyes, this rubbery liquid became a magical material -- holding fast the micro-metallic mica of the PearlEx, and adding an easy-to-manipulate dimensional element to vivid washes of color.  

Donna's Scraped Paint Samples
*acrylic alchemy in vivid colors!*
Demonstrating an addictive paint application she learned from L.K. Ludwig, DS introduced us to the beauty of Scraped Paint.  Her workstation was well-populated throughout the afternoon as members visited and experimented with what seems to be acrylic alchemy!  Applying paint in thin layers and lightly adding water made magic, right before our very eyes!  If this sounds like something you might want to try, point your browser to the lovely, online tutorial for more details.  In spite of having sworn off any more 'new things to try' until I get some sort of order imposed, here on the Acre, I must admit to having procured a new set of cheap-o acrylics to more fully explore the boundless potential of this technique.  *ahh, yes!  Temptation, thy name is Jerry's! - lol*

The Big Reveal
*do we look delighted, or what?!?*
Our resident "Material Maven," RLM, delighted us all with fantastical Tie Dying Silk Scarves *nope, that's not a typo -- that's what we did!*  Everyone brought a handful of silk ties as part of our 'tool kit' for the days activities; after following the simple instructions, the results of our own colorful creations stunned us all!  Some sort of chemical reaction involving the aluminum pot, plain white vinegar, and blank silk scarves bound with sections of silk neckties, rolled in muslin, wrought a bevvy of wildly colored scarves.  This activity, alone among the four, required us to wait our turn - as the pot could only accommodate so many scarf rolls at one time.  The wait was well worth it, and the 'reveal' after the required boiling time was as highly anticipated as any reality TV cliffhanger!  The 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' were audible throughout the neighborhood, I am sure!

There is something very powerful in having such gatherings to look forward to!  I enjoy our monthly meetings and the various other opportunities to take in the artful goodness in and around our community with these amazing, talented, and generous women.  But to have these longer days, and the time to linger... Well, that's a special joy; and one I hope I never take for granted.  It is a rare gift to have such a diverse and supportive group of artists to interact with on a regular basis.  I am constantly amazed by the sheer knowledge of so many different things, the combined experience and wisdom that is housed among our number.  As my Granddaddy would have said, 'I am proud to know them.'  

A Rapt Crowd
*always as eager to share as to learn*
They have all, in their own very different and unique ways, enriched my life in a manner not altogether evident on the surface.  This truth follows me into all that I do - much like a favorite rock or sea-smoothed shell fragment can instantly conjure the memory of when it came to be mine - the lessons they have taught me are like snippets of a song, caught in passing by an open window:  brief, yet poignant; fleeting, yet eternal; personal, yet universal.  Lucky am I.  Special thanks, too, to SD and DA for allowing the day to lengthen into a blissful evening - more good food and easy laughter, tales shared and dreams strengthened!

It was another week on Fast Forward, here!  After that delicious interlude of friendship and creativity, the real world reappeared.  With it's ringing phones, countless questions, trivial frustrations, and "what next?!?" moments, the week had me thinking 'weekend thoughts' by Wednesday!  I made plans to be decadently selfish.  I would paint, fondle paper, dream a bit in my journal, gaze fondly at The Man -- fill the precious weekend *my first full weekend at home in over a month!* with the wants of my heart instead of the needs of 'life in general'.  *Sounds wickedly wonderful, doesn't it?*

My Beloveds
*circa April, 2006*
Instead, I savored the weekend in a different manner -- one that we don't get to enjoy very often:  The Girl came home!  Home, as in our house -- not just 'to town' (i.e. the other house).  While it wasn't what any of us had planned, it was a most wonderful time of togetherness!  Oh, how I miss those days of early morning chats on the way to school, daily updates and the who's, what's, and *incessant* why's of the younger years, lovingly packed lunches with silly notes, and knowing that she was always near.  Friday night found us yammering into the wee hours of Saturday morning; marveling o'er the latest accomplishments, laughing at our own silliness.  Saturday brought the pangs of realization that she is, indeed, growing up and out of her former existence; putting into storage furniture that is beloved, but not necessary in the current living arrangement -- shared memories of long-loved things...  In spite of still missing the little girl that she was, not all that long ago, I am regularly amazed at the confident, focused, and incredible young woman she has become!  Along with all of the good visiting, we managed to take in a movie, too (another rare treat for me and The Man)!

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes was truly amazing.  This was not, however, some new attraction for me. *nay,nay!*  I have loved these movies for a long, looong time -- back in my own days of lunchbox toting, I secretly envied my cousin's Planet of the Apes lunchbox.  In fact, a few years ago, upon acquiring the box set DVDs of the original movies we hosted a gathering based on the movies -- running them all back to back!  Fast-paced, well-acted, and graciously inclusive *with nods to each of the other installments in this franchise,* this incarnation proved to be the perfect outing on a weekend spent in awareness of the nature of change - of the past vs. the future - of where we have been vs. where we are headed.

So, my 'decadent selfishness' eluded me in favor of something sweeter.  Did I paint my Masterpiece?  No...  In truth, I haven't even gotten my hands dirty this weekend.  I was, however, given the opportunity to revel in a creation of a different sort:  the embodiment of giving and receiving that is at the heart of Family.  The full engagement of 'being there' -- no need too small, no memory too distant -- the wonder that comes from living with, and overcoming, all that Life capriciously tosses our way.  Lucky am I, indeed!

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:*
 "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, you need one."
                                    - Jane Howard

"...You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you, as you are to them ."
                                      - Desmond Tutu
Photo Notes: 
     All photos generously provided by D. Sloma and M. Davis Petelinz, with many thanks!
*bonus:  two quotes, today - one for each Sunday!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sketchbook Project 2012, pt. I - OR - The Gift of Giving

Sketchbook Project Logo
customized for our merry band"The Sketchy Characters"
As I mentioned in my last post, several members of The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild and I have embarked on the Sketchbook Project 2012 ("It's like a concert tour, but with books!").  In addition to submitting books to the project, we plan to visit the nearest stop on the Tour, Atlanta, next year!  With forty (40!?!) themes from which to choose, the results promise to be as varied as the wildly divergent talents of our members -- I can hardly wait to see them all finished!  Alas, wait I must, it will be January before I see them all in their completed finery -- we will be having a grand send off for them, before they are shipped out! 

DIY Thermal Binding
inserting the pre-glued spine strip
 The first stop on the journey, however, was getting our 'sketchbooks' prepared for the rigors of travel with such a 'mixed up' crew of creatives!  Had we all been planning to merely sketch, everything would have been fine 'as is.'  However, this is a group that embodies the 'mixed' in Mixed Media!  Within days of receiving/distributing our books, the questions were already popping up on our forum ("is there a way to ...?"  "what if I want to...?"  etc.)  To aid in the effort of creating more 'user friendly' books, we planned a Re-Binding day; so last Sunday, 09/11/2011, found us in the classroom at Jerry's Artarama.   I must say:  it felt very good to be in fellowship with like minded souls, making something, on a day remembered by so many for so much destruction/loss.  I came armed and ready with some of my favorite tools for an afternoon of bookbinding.  I had two options to offer the eager participants:  thermal and sewn.  Lots o' tips and tricks flew about; and I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all  ~>;-)

Two Bindings - Myriad Possibilities
(L) Long Stitch binding, (R) Thermal binding
The thermal binding was based on an example from Dorothy Simpson Krause's fabulous Book + Art - Handcrafting Artists' Books.  After some 'fiddling' *and, yes, misreading the instructions - ha!* I provided one sample with 140# watercolor paper folios bound in a re-enforced SuedeTex cover, and another with three, pamphlet stitched signatures in a Nujabi cover.  This format was a big hit with the crew!  The sewn option was a basic long stitch -- improvised to suit the various formats of each artist.  Depending on the thickness of the paper (watercolor *90# and 140#*, bristol, drawing, etc.), the number of signatures varied (4, 5 and 7); the results were all fantastic! The best part of the day was seeing the excitement of my fellow Guild members in learning something new -- it was more than excitement, tho', it was JOY bordering on downright giddiness!  I would be hard pressed to say who was happier:  me, for the sharing; or they, for the receipt of the "how to."  Therein lies the beauty!  My love for my favorite art form was reinvigorated by the sheer pleasure of my friends' appreciation at having a chance to 'just do it!'  Lucky am I!

Everyone left with not one, but TWO newly bound books -- I should say "at least two," as there were a few who ended up with 3 completed (and, most left with materials at the ready for additional bindings).  I count the day as an enormous success; it puts me in a great frame of mind for next years bookbinding offerings at Jerry's!

The Orchid
*AKA, my visual crack!*
In addition to waves of gratitude, I was *quite unexpectedly* gifted with a gorgeous orchid (((hugs to KS!))); which has become my ruination, in terms of distraction, this week (o.o)  It is simply stunning!  I had the foresight to apologize in advance for the great likelihood that I would *undoubtedly* kill it *in short order*...  When I got home, The Man 'oohed' and 'ahhed' appreciatively; then wondered *quite aloud!* how long I thought it would 'make it.'  Apparently, my magpie tendencies are rather renowned - ha!  I am very pleased to report, however, that at one week we have managed:  successful watering, perfect lighting, and a brand new blossom!  It has created in me an urge *nee, fervent desire* to paint!?!  *yeah, i know, i know...  just what I need:  one more thing - LOL!*  Whether I actually end up painting it or not, I am enjoying it immensely!  My photo doesn't do it justice, tho'...  It is so beautiful as to appear unreal!?!  

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"Grief can take care of itself,
but to get the full value of a joy
you must have somebody to divide it with."
                                      - Mark Twain
Photo Notes:  
   Sketchbook Project Logo from Art House Coop (modified for CMMAG group by moi).
   Thermal prep photo by Katherine Stein (iPhone camera app)
   "Two Bindings"  taken with Panasonic Lumix (DMC-ZS1) - set to natural light, slow sync/red eye flash.
   "The Orchid" taken with Motorola DROID Vignette Demo App, set to random, vintage frames and auto flash.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mea Culpa!

Mon Dieu!  SERIOUSLY!?!  *rabble, rabble, rabble...*

...OR, as my sweet, little Grandma would have said:  "my, stars!"  In case you haven't figured it out, yet, I am beyond flummoxed that it has really been 2 weeks since I was last here :-\  *oh, sna-up!*  This reminds me of a very humorous greeting card I found years ago -- on the front (very cartoon-y) was a young boy with the total SAD face, looking at a rather obviously dead gold fish in the typical glass bowl.  Inside, it read something along the lines of  'sorry it's been so long -- if you were a gold fish, you'd be dead by now' - ha!  I have been careening along, at full Warp Speed; having extremely 'bloggable thoughts' -- not that you would know that!  *especially since I relegated you to a grocery paperback for your Labor Day beach trip by missing my own deadline to tell you about some totally readable tomes - ACK!*

Anyway...  As I seem to be in the habit of playing 'perpetual catch up' here, let's get to it, shall we?  As you will see, there has been plenty happening in my little neck of the woods -- during all of which, The Quest for Floor marches haltingly onward!

The Man and I enjoyed a magical visit to The Moore Boys Farm on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend (after a wonderful, albeit brief, visit with MDP at The African American Cultural Festival in downtown Raleigh).  The Brother cooked up some amazing *read:  make your mouth water, even in the re-telling!* ribs; and my sister in law served up some ferocious sides:  baked beans, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and yeast rolls *mmm, mmm, gooood!*  

The Man required a nap before dessert!
*the mark of an awesome meal!*
As IF we needed any, the dessert was plentiful too - pecan pie and cheesecake (two of her specialties)!  Everything was delicious -- including the time spent with the Angel Babies (not such 'babies' anymore)!  I played checkers for the first time in over 20 years *yep!  thoroughly trounced by the 8 year old!* -- and Wii for the first time EVER!  I LOVE Wii!  I made up for my dismal performance in checkers by way of a solid WIN in Wii Bowling -- great fun -- not to mention much kinder to the back than slinging around a massive bowling ball -ha!

Big, fun, happy happenings in Guild Land from now through the end of the year, too!  We are launching a special project to benefit the Duke Children's Hopsital chapter of Arts for Life; readying for the unveiling of our latest collaborative project, CanvaSynergy, at our return to Art of the Carolinas (AoC) in November (is this really our 4th year!?!); a group of 18 of us are working feverishly on our submissions to The Sketchbook Project 2012; a creative Play Day this Sunday; and...  *whew!* it just keeps coming!

Managed to work in a long overdue visit with the Mammoo!  Enjoyed a chance to get caught up on all of our favorite folks, with the added bonus of an incredible lunch at 'our' Italian place and a quick jaunt to Michael's for additional arting fodder!

Last Sunday, the aforementioned "Sketchy Characters" (the name of our Sketchbook Group) were invited out to Jerry's Artarama for a Re-Binding Day.  Being the Mixed Media gals we are, we knew upon receipt of our books that we would need some heftier paper on which to work our mixed media magic.  I was armed and ready with two different binding options (with different papers) for reworking our sketchbooks within allowable dimensions.  What FUN!  Really, this day deserves a post of its own *and it shall be so!*

THIS Sunday, the Guild will enjoy its 3rd Quarterly Creative Day of the year in the lovely DiGiulio Studios!  I am doing a demo on mono printing; three other members are sharing more creative mojo, and everyone will have a chance to join in the fun by trying each of the techniques being demonstrated.  This is our 2nd Annual Creative Round Robin, and the perfect opportunity to get our creative juices flowing for AoC in November!  Our quarterly events are always highly anticipated, as it is rare that we have the luxury of 4 of 5 hours to spend together making cool things *a favored activity of this amazing Tribe!*

Along with ALL of this life-drenching goodness, I have a set of classes on the books (pun intended) at my 'home away from home' throughout next year!  I will be teaching a series entitled "Adventures in Bookbinding" at Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh, NC from March through December of 2012!  I am over the MOON excited about this incredible opportunity; you, gentle readers, will have front row seats to the 'sneak peeks' as my samples and variations are born!  The website for next years workshops will be up before AoC -- stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.  Since you might be too far away to hear my ululations of utter joy where you are, worry not, I will kindly be providing all the pertinent details as they become available.  *who loves ya'?!*

Wise Words, Indeed
*'nuff said!*
Speaking of books, be on the lookout for a special post about a super cool new book!  *got your attention?*  It is super cool not only because I know the author, having tooled about town with her in my very own cute ute just over a year ago; and not only because it showcases some way cool, down-home talent from right here in NC, in the form of a bookbinding guru and metal-smithing maven -- it also has *are you ready?!?* work by ME!  You could have knocked me over with a feather!  Not trying wholeheartedly to be a tease, but I seem to be making a grand go of it, eh?  *good LORD, people -- if I give it to you all in one go, you'd be reading 'til next Tuesday!?!*

Yep, yep, yep!  The cogs of the writing machine are grinding along with a satisfying hum, now!  *...and I am pret-ty sure it isn't just the incessant ringing in my ears!*  I refuse to believe I am setting myself up for failure!  Yoda is my Zen Master!  There will be MORE!  It will be SOON!  *I can DO it!*

There now!  ...all better *okay, with the obvious, glaring exception of telling you about the reading from my months in self-imposed exile!*'s coming, it's coming!

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"...To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
                                      - Tennyson
Photo Notes:  
   Taken with Panasonic Lumix (DMC-ZS1) - set to natural light, slow sync/red eye flash.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One More Thing!

Those who know me personally are well aware that todays title is pretty much my Mantra!  It's both the general pattern of the day-to-day existence, here on the Acre, as well as the reason more doesn't get done - ha!  I'd wager that I actually forgot to tell you more than 'one more thing' in my mad recap, yesterday!  ...but since I promised the Giver that I would share this happy news, I wanted to make sure I didn't let it past me, altogether.  Much like the nasal refrain of Gilda Radner's Rosanne Rosannadanna:  "'s aaalways something!" my Mantra is repeated daily, in a not so Zen-like manner!  *one more thing, one more thing,..*  It is repeated with enough regularity that it has become part of the vernacular of our family -- The Man will often ask after a seemingly forgotten task by wondering *with a certain, impish grin* if I have been "one more thing-ing, again!"

Lovely goodies from Germany
Many thanks, TJ!
* the stamps were an added bonus - i <3 stamps!
;-) *
Ahhh, but I digress!  At the end of July, I learned of a Blog Giveaway featuring the work of an author whose blog I have enjoyed, of late:  Quinn McDonald.  Quinn's blog directed me to a very fun spot on the interweb commandeered by the lovely TJ:  Studio Mailbox.  I read a rather poignant post, watched a very enjoyable video, and left a comment to enter her Giveaway -- which was for a signed copy of Quinn's book, Raw Art Journaling, in addition to several 'goodie packs' featuring ATCs made from the piece she created in the featured video *can I just say that I am continually blown away at the wicked cool features on the blogs I read regularly? -- videos! a regular 'thing"!  seriously!?!*  TJ's snazzy blog and apparent humor & generous nature ensured my continued reading -- I'd further wager that there is something there that you would enjoy, too!

ANYway...  I received a sweet e-mail at the conclusion of the entry period (08/02) notifying me that I had won one of the 'goodie packs!'  This is not something that happens often -- me, winning something :-?  I was tickled!  Given that it was coming from Germany, I was very surprised at how quickly it arrived (08/10).  What a lovely, wee packet of ephemeral goodness (pages of German text, a quirky cat post card, two ATCs, a wee tag from the die-cut on one of the ATCs, and a handful of beautiful postage stamps)!  ...all tucked into a stenciled, hand-stamped envelope, declaring "Because Mail is Love."  It was a wonderful treat!  I look forward to using all of it ~>:-D

Until next time,
Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"Knowing is not as good as loving,
loving is not as good as enjoying."
                                      - Chinese Proverb

Photo Notes:  
  taken with Motorola DROID Retro Camera App by Urbian - Pinhole Camera

Monday, August 29, 2011


OK I am neither "in Gotham City," nor am I entirely certain how to encapsulate everything that has taken place since I last visited with you, here :-\  Sufficed to say:  I am upright and mobile.  In spite (one might argue, because) of crushing losses, joyful discoveries, and having 'gone to ground' for a bit, I emerge refreshed and re-focused on tackling my 'to-do' list(s) with greater fervor! true is this?
*from Urban Poetry - link below*
There is something so very humbling about remembrance...  Whether it comes from happy times shared, wisdom gained, long-lost friends rediscovered, exciting plans for a lost future, or a sudden absence following apparent improvement.  Some of my 'time away' *nay, the majority* was invested in the realizations borne of remembrance.  The World might not have stumbled due to their departure, but my world is both tangibly smaller and more richly patina'd having had to say good bye to JM, PS, JM, GM, and DF.  You are all missed!

When I find myself in need of 'unplugging' for a while, my 'go to' comfort zone is a good book *read:  a quick, cheap, and easy escape*.  I have read a seemingly incredible number of books in the past two months -- I will get the Shelfari up to date, this week!  ...just in time for you to hit the library before the long weekend -- in case 'one last hurrah!' isn't in the cards for your Memorial Day weekend.  As much as I yearn to be 'beach-bound,' I don't see that happening this year :-\  *OH, do tell me what YOU have been reading!?!*

Very cool happenings on the creativity front!  In July, I shared my fanatical research and experimentation of Homemade Alcohol Ink Spray with my friends in the CMMAG.  As is often the case with such a group, there was a palpable sense of "A-HA!" in the room -- Great interest, great questions that spurred some experimentation of their own!  My testing and documentation continues *with no apparent end in sight!*  I truly do not mean to tease you, gentle reader, but the wait will be just a tad longer for more/better photos :-?  They are coming, tho'!
The latest batch of Homemade Alcohol Inks,
ready for decanting into sprayers.

Speaking of 'the Guild Gals', we have an amazing array of cool, arty things going on in the final months of 2011, be sure to visit Creativity Rocks! for all the latest.  I am working on a project that will travel around the WORLD!  Exciting news on the teaching front is coming, too!  *OH, MY!*  Publication news is brewing!  New work in the works!  The Quest for Floor continues, and long-lost real estate is being recovered weekly!  The Girl is back in school *Go Pirates!*, and looking to repeat her appearance on the Dean's List *w00t!*  The Man is pounding code like mad, and his genius is evident daily!  We're not running around starving and 'nekkid'; despite not having reached the status of Goddess, I have been fully functional in the Domestic Dept.!  As always, there remain more 'really cool' ideas than the time in which to execute them; I keep on plugging away, tho!

As if all of this weren't enough, last week included both an earthquake (which I totally missed, as I was in the car at the time), AND a hurricane (during which we fared better than many)!

SO!  If anything, I have been 'over-stimulated' *oh, yes... that sounds SO much nicer than "a slacker" - ha!* rather than 'under-motivated' of late.  Obviously, still working on the whole 'discipline' thing...  While I may not yet have all of the balls in the air *it does seem like juggling some days...*, one can hardly bemoan living, right? 

Because that's what's been happening since you read me last...  

I've been living.

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"Life is a thing that mutates without warning,
not always in enviable ways.
All part of the improbable adventure of being alive,
of being a brainy bi-ped with giant dreams on a crazy blue planet."
                                      - Diane Ackerman

Photo Notes:  
   1st photo:  Urban Poetry - My Modern Metropolis; 2nd photo taken with Motorola DROID Vignette Demo App, set to random, vintage frames and auto flash.