Wednesday, July 28, 2010

paper bowls & painting

Sometimes I'm just exhausted when I come home from work, which, I suppose, is why they call it work and not happy fun time. So, while I'm not entirely sure how my spare time was whittled away last week, I know that a large chunk of it has been spent working on my latest in a series of on-going craft projects: the paper bowls.

I was in 4-H when I was a child, and did papermaking which was taught by the artistic and talented Linda Partridge. And many times during my childhood I took out my mother's Oster blender and filled it with shredded paper and water. Fortunately, Mom didn't really ever make anything food related with that blender. Yeah, my mom sews & tats & crochets & cross-stitches; cooking, meh.

So, anyway, I seem to have been bitten with the papermaking bug again, and I'm not quite sure why or how. But when inspiration for an arts & craft project hits, it's best to just do it, and not remember 3 months later that you came home from work and zonked out on the couch (that it took you 2 months to upholster & assemble) in front of CSI: NY reruns everyday instead of just getting stuff done.

Believe me, there is a five year old project involving designing butterflies and mobiles that surfaces from the back of my mind every now and then... usually when I'm at work.

So, yes, papermaking.
I decided that this was going to be a 'green' project. All the paper that was used to make the pulp had already been used. 99% of the paper I used to make the pulp came from the office, they throw a lot of paperwork away at work. Don't worry, none of it is anything interesting; it isn't personnel files, it's mostly ordering codes. And it was all made into pulp anyway. Go ahead, scan a telzon on one of my bowls, there's no barcode, and nothing is going to happen.

I don't remember why I decided to make bowls, perhaps because it's easy, I've done it before, they're technically functional... who knows. But bowls are what I ended up using to mould my paper pulp. I made more than 20 of them, in varying sizes based on what I had purchased for the project (clearance sales on melamine tupperware at box-stores are always super) and what happened to be in the cupboard. Don't worry, there won't be any paper in the jello salad come Thanksgiving. My favorite imitation tupperware (it's violet colored!) will be thoroughly washed.

Anyway, the summer heat was excellent for this project, as I just left the bowls out on the back patio to dry. Well, there was that one Sunday when I had to jump up from my slumber and retrieve them from the patio because there was a storm. It was a hoot to get them in the garage and realize there was quarter-sized (USD .25¢) hail in my half-dry paper bowls. Yes, it hailed in July in Michigan in the middle of a spell of 90˚F weather.

This is, perhaps, why it never occurs to me to make paper in the middle of winter.

Anyway, once all the forms had dried, it was time to get busy and decorate them. I'm not a handmade paper purist. I knew I was painting them. And so, that's what I have been and should be working on for the past week and into the next week. And then there will come the 2 day period where I hem and haw over whether or not I want to shellac them. Yes, I know, it's called varnish, but the word shellac is more fun. Craft projects are supposed to be fun, not work.

Here are a selection of bowls in progress...

Yes, I have a collection of kitsch garden critters : ) I am apparently particularly fond of frogs, lizards, and turtles; and using them to decorate indoors.
Hopefully your summer is fun & productive, and hail free!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Art Fair is in the air

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is this week. Yes, out of what I could only really consider sheer pettiness, there are technically like four "different" "art fairs" going on at the same time. Whatever. Honestly, I've been going to Art Fair since I was a kid, and no one cares who was first or original. They're all artists, crafters, vendors, and activist booths located on the streets of downtown Ann Arbor, really, it doesn't matter what street. I like finding cool things, and I don't care where the booth is located. Art Fair is July 21-24 10am to 9am wed thru fri, and closing at 6pm on sat.

I look forward to going to Art Fair every July. As per the usual, I plan on buying an opal triplet ring from William Fisk, buying more jewelry than I really need, visiting the Peaceable Kingdom, visiting Middle Earth, visiting my favorite shoe store, and hoping it doesn't rain.

The first shot is a leaf of the Japanese Gum Tree.

The blueberries are ripe in the yard — I made some very tasty muffins yesterday. That Better Homes & Gardens cookbook from 1972 has an excellent, very simple recipe. I'd double the amount of blueberries, but otherwise it's delicious every time.

And the tigerlilies are blooming!

Hopefully your summer is ripe with beauty : )

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer is a busy season

My apologies for the lapse in blog entries... rest assured my own mother has repeatedly reminded me about the lack of new stuff...

This summer has been a busy one. That's not to say that I spent every previous summer doing absolutely nothing, but well, this summer has just been particularly productive from an Arts & Crafts standpoint.

According to the file on my desktop, I have made 51 8X10 paintings so far this summer. So, I have been busy scanning those... Additionally, I made 20 11X14 paintings back in June, which, of course are sitting around waiting to have hangers attached to their backs so they can be photographed... I have gone on a tear with papermaking. It's been a good couple of years since I've done it, but in the past 20 days I have moulded about 20 bowls from pulp I made myself... and now I have to paint them and finish them, and photograph them, and list them.

I'm not sure how to explain my decision to manufacture hair accessories from silk flowers & barrettes. But, I scoured the internet for information on how they should be attached, and there they are: sitting in boxes in the office...

And of course, as always there's the photography...

So, I've been working on some pictures of Queen Anne's Lace, as there seems to be a patch of it growing out in the garden, and I am too lazy to weed it. I'm good with photographing it, weeding it — not so much...

I really like the bokeh in the last image. These will probably all inevitably be for sale in my "sarahknight" shop on etsy.