Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Lori Garver

We now enter the world of recycling with the next zine, Brown Paper Bag Art, by Lori Garver. The cover of her 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" zine is made out of a brown paper bag. She has stitched the binding, as well as the title, which is rubber-stamped letters on frayed fabric. The cover also has some pretty colored flowers, which I discover later she has described how to make.

Lorie starts with a nice introduction about her love for brown paper bags. She points out that they are plentiful, usually free, and can take many mediums well. That's beautiful music to the ears of many mixed media artists, especially in this economy.

Her how-to for making paper bag flowers didn't disappoint. She gave a few techniques from different artists and included a few samples.

Lori has discovered an artist who hosts a brown paper bag art swap each year, and she's included an interview with her. She's also researched links to other artists who use brown paper bags. This is a fun inclusion in a zine. I haven't gone through all the links yet, but it will be a fun thing to do on a rainy day.

Lori seems to like to try new things, and that's all the good for us. She shows you how to make waxed paper bag dolls, textured paper, paper beads, and just for that time when you're relaxing and reading your favorite zine, some brown sugar cookies. (Yum -- I have to try these!)

I love how a handmade zine can open you up to an artist's world. I can see that Lorie likes to sew and work with fabric; re-use materials; play with rubber stamps; and she has an attention to detail. I am enjoying "meeting" other artists through the swaps that I do. You can meet the next artist when I review Barb Nelis's zine on February 3rd.

Check out the zine I made for this swap here. If you'd like to "meet" me, you can buy my zine online at my Etsy shop here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where Did This Come From?

I'm in the process of putting everything I own back in closets and cupboards as I come to the conclusion of a six-month home remodeling. The builder just has a couple things to tie up, and we can say that the professionals have done their work. Now comes the hard part for us -- finding places for everything; choosing curtains, rods, furniture, area rugs, and art for the walls, in these new rooms we've created; cleaning the dust that's accumulated, then cleaning it again. The decorating is the fun part, but very time-consuming when you're running a busy household with two kids. The kids seem to have a better social life than the adults, and my husband and I spend a lot of our time ferrying them from one event to another. I'm also traveling up to Cocoa Beach every couple of weeks to check on my dad, spending 5-8 days at a time there. That puts a damper on getting my house projects done, as well as updating my blog, running the art society, or doing any art of my own. I have no computer up there, but I can bring some jewelry to work on. That just requires planning on my part, because I have to bring every supply I think I might need with me. I don't have the freedom to just search through my supplies while I'm creating.

Anyway, that gives you an idea of the crazy life I'm leading with this home renovation. As I was organizing my kitchen cupboards, I came across some things that I haven't used in a long time that I've immediately put in the garage sale pile. I've also had some surprises when I've discovered things I haven't used in awhile -- but I love and am pleasantly reintroduced to. I've looked at some things and said, "Where did this come from? I forgot I had that." I'm sure you've said that before. Well, here are a few things that will not be put in the garage sale, and I'm going to make the effort to use real soon.

I think I got these little condiment dishes at Crate and Barrel. I've used them when I've made a meat fondue, with three different dipping sauces. I like that you can put one at each place.

This is a depression-era glass plate that was my grandmother's, or perhaps my great-grandmother's. When my mom had to put her mom in a nursing home, she packed up a few boxes of things and shipped them from Oregon to Florida. Us kids searched through the boxes and chose things we'd like to keep. I've always loved this dish. I've used it for nuts or candy, but would like to think of a more imaginative use. Any ideas?

This is a crystal butter dish, and I have a matching honey pot. I like using this when you have people over for a nice brunch. We've done that on days when we hit the green market in the morning, and come back and make a nice meal from our purchases.

And finally, here is a pottery oil lamp. I've never used it -- this falls in the category of, I forgot I owned it. My mom found this at a nice gallery and gave it to me for Christmas. It includes instructions for which oil to use. I'm definitely going to use this on our next cold day, when I'm making hot chocolate at night and the lights in the house are low.

Have you discovered any lost treasures in your home lately?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Zine Day - Cris Peacock

I'm posting reviews of the zines I received when I created 10 of my own and traded with 10 other artists. You can see the zine, or small, self-published magazine, that I created, here.

Today I want to tell you about Cris Peacock's zine, called Words & Art Zine: Making Poems. Cris is an artist living in Maui who makes jewelry and other mixed media art.

Her zine is 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" and is spiral-bound. It looks like she painted the pages and maybe did some sun prints of flowers. She sent photos of the pages through PhotoShop, altering them to make her own paper. I counted 20 pages with the covers, but that doesn't give you the full picture. Many pages fold out, fold open, or include pockets. Some pages are cut down, others have deckled edges. I bet she had fun putting this mini-book together.

The opening line for her zine is "Ideas for making simple poems to mix with your Artwork." I'm all about including words and stories in my art, but for some reason, I haven't braved the poetry waters. I don't know why -- I wrote hundreds of poems when I was younger. I think when we get older, we feel less free to express ourselves. I'm definitely expressing myself artistically in many ways; perhaps this little zine will encourage me to try poetry again.

Cris starts with a poem by her favorite poet, followed by a book recommendation. She talks about words -- and did I mention that the text in her zine is all handwritten? She's definitely studied calligraphy. I think words read better that way, especially when they are poems.

Cris describes a few easy poem forms to get you started: haiku, acrostics, then leads to poems with a more complex structure: diamonte, cinquains. She gives an example of each.

Once you've written your poems, you can follow two techniques for presenting them. She describes how to make a plumber's tape repousee' and to make paste paper. She includes examples of each.

And finally, her book ends with a little envelope of goodies. I think that's the unwritten rule of zines: include some goodies. And it makes it so much more fun when you pull them out of an enclosure, like you're opening a present.

You can see more of Cris's art at her website and her blog.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Dare You Not to Laugh

As I'm reading blog posts from various artist friends, I came upon this one by Stephanie Lee, a mixed media artist from Southern Oregon. Apparently she did this late one night -- I think this should be required viewing for anyone who's had a bad day. There is no way you can get through this and not laugh. Have fun.

You can see it here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Irena Prior

To continue my review of zines, today I will tell you about Irena Prior's zine, How to Use Markers to Create Colorful Works of Art. I received this zine in the recent zine swap, in which I created 10 zines and traded them with 10 other artists. You can see the original post about my zine here, and the first zine I reviewed here.

"Zine" is short for magazine, and it is simply means that it is a self-published book, with the content, design, and reproduction done solely by the author. We were challenged in this swap to create our own zines and trade with other artists.

Irena has a blog called Just Crazy About Dogs. You understand that when you see that a lot of the art in her zine is dogs. She is a talented artist with good drawing skills.

Irena gives a comprehensive tools list, including the brand names of some of them. I think some authors get caught up in the feeling that they don't want to seem to support one brand over the other, so they omit the brand names altogether. I hate that. If an instruction calls for a "solvent ink pad," for example, I want to know -- what does that mean? Permanent ink? Alcohol ink? Anyway, she lists "copic" markers and "Tombow" dual markers, both of which I'll be tempted to try so I can see why she likes them and what effect they give.

Her zine includes simple exercises to expand your drawing skills. I especially like her recommendation to start drawing on index cards, and practice many times until you switch to watercolor paper.

Irena gives detailed descriptions of her drawing techniques. She explains how she uses damp watercolor brushes to blend the color. She didn't save money by producing her zine in black and white. She made the right decision to show full color so you can see what she does with the markers. Black and white just would not have worked with this subject matter. With 22 pages plus the cover, the color copies are worth it.

Watch my blog for my next review of a wonderful artist's zine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Renovation Update

For seven months now, my family has been in the midst of an addition. I thought my home was in disarray a few months ago. Little did I know just how crazy it would be now that they've gotten into the main part of the house, and they're working on the kitchen, and the tiling of the floors.

The cabinets and granite countertops are in. I've placed post-its on the doors and drawers of what I'll fill them with.

I'm dying to fill the cabinets, but I've hit an interruption. Now that they're tiling the floors, I'm in the way. I've holed myself up in my bedroom until they're done at the end of each day.

I have furniture stacked up in corners of rooms. I can't find anything I need.

Hopefully I'll be able to post some "after" photos soon. I've told my husband, we better not take six months putting everything back in the kitchen and the new closets. I'll give myself one month, or I'll get very stressed out.

Are you working on any challenging projects? Hopefully you see an end in sight too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow in Florida?

I don't think so.

It was announced yesterday that Florida was the only state in the Union to not have snow on the ground. Big surprise there. We did get our share of the cold front, which was morning temps in the 30's. That's mighty cold for us, particularly since we don't have the proper clothes to dress for it. I had a hard time finding gloves for my daughter, because they don't sell them much here. The ones I found are pink and cute, but not that warm.

Today they announced that the Florida state government is jumping on our snow-less status and launching a promotional campaign to attract people to our state. I guess they figure, if you're sick of snow, come here.

Well, my family did get to see snow this Christmas. We spent the holidays with family up in Cleveland, Ohio. We came after their two big snowstorms, arriving to over a foot of snow on the ground. That snow could stay for the next couple of months.

Here's the face of a happy girl in the snow. What do you do when you're from Florida and you're surrounded by a Winter Wonderland? Why, you climb, jump, and teeter on things so that you can retrieve the amazing icicles you see.

We loved our visit in Cleveland. Our cousins live right on a golf course (and in this economy, it's gone bankrupt), so you're able to hike all over it. About 11:30 p.m. on Christmas night, after eating for about six hours straight, we took a walk through the snow. We saw four deer, and a couple of fox.

How's everyone else doing? Have you dug yourselves out of the snow? Are the kids back in school?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Carol Henley

A while back, I posted about a zine that I created. A zine is a fully hand-made magazine about a subject of your choosing. You can see where I described my zine here. I call my zine "Paint/Paste," and showcase painting and collage techniques for mixed meda artists.

I was inspired to create this zine for a swap -- meaning, I created 10 zines and received 10 different zines back from other artists. I'd like to show off the zines I received here, and I'm starting with the zine "Wrandom Writings," by Carol Henley. Her art is created at her Swallowcliffs Art Studio.

Her zine includes excerpts from some of her journals. It seems that she is quite the journaler, and has kept journals for years. Her zine is the size of half of a standard sheet of paper, meaning it's folded over. She has stitched the side binding and it has 18 pages plus the front and back cover. All the pages seem to be color copies; each page is a new treat of beautifully colored art.

Carol is opening up the pages of her private journals for us to see. She freely gives her motivation for journaling, and how it makes her feel. I think she is quite bold and should be commended for her generosity.

Her journals are visually appealing as well. She's used water colors, stamps, drawings, to enhance her pages. She's included some of her soul collages, and you realize that she's a talented artist, not afraid of placing unlike things together in interesting ways.

For those who haven't started a journal, Carol gives us many reasons to try, and then tells us how to do it. I especially liked when she says you should think about the purpose of your journal. I can't just write to write. I always need to have a purpose for writing. Do you want to analyze your personal finances, she asks? Why not make that a topic for a journal. How great -- I never would have thought of that one. I will say that I have journals for different purposes: project ideas; blog post ideas and first drafts; business plans.

One of the fun things about making your own blog is you can include pull-outs, pockets, and freebie gifts. Carol has included a handmade blank book, so the zine reader can start her own journal. She has used a cut-down cover from a used book, and stitched in blank, lined paper for writing. What will I put in my new little journal? She's definitely inspired me to create some artistic journal pages.

You can visit Carol's blog and see more of her wonderful art on her blog, Swallowcliffs Art Studio.

I have a few of my zines left, and you can buy them through my Etsy site, which is my online shopping area for Blue Sand Studio. You can find them here.