Sunday, October 30, 2011

The weekend and lots of mail art

 This afternoon, we took a walk to drop mail in the box for early pick up tomorrow, and then walked over to our friends' to drop off stuff they'd left at our house. We stopped to chat with a neighbor who has a small garden in front of her house and she gave us some hot peppers. The orange ones are very hot, she warned. I gave one to John, one to our son, and kept one. That's about all the heat I'll need.
 At our friends' house. We were chatting, when I suddenly notice that there was a critter asleep on the couch in the kitchen. He didn't stir even though there were four of us talking. I think there'd been some Saturday night Halloween festivities.
 Our neighbor gave us this bottle of Gl├╝hwien made in Nurnburg.  He'd bought several bottles for our outdoor dance party that didn't happen on Saturday night. It was too cold to be outside and we had to cancel. Boo Hoo.  I can't wait to try this, as it'll bring back memories of Brussels, where we went late one November and got to see the holiday markets and light shows.
 This was the weekend for squares and circles. I decided to create designs based on my own 2D design course, which finished up last week.
 Saturday was all about squares.
 Check out how the circles change up the spatial quality depending on their value.
 I used my neighbors maths book for titles for these compositions.
 Here comes Sunday, all about circles.
 It's so interesting to me how simple placement changes the energy and direction that we follow.
 This composition was random. I dropped the circles on the paper and glued them where they landed.
This is another of the random compositions. They really work for me.
Which do you prefer, squares or circles? Why? This is not a test. ha ha ha

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Think Small, Mail Art & more

 I'm participating in ThinkSmall again. In the past, I've entered collages and sculptures, but this year I decided to do something conceptual and minimal. I had a small jar that fit the size limitations. I filled the jar 1/2 full with those circles of map that I used to create my skull for the Skull Appreciation exhibit. They're from pages of a Larousse Atlas from 1911 (or earlier.) I call the piece  "Le Monde 1911" DIY collage/100+year old map pieces.   You can shake it like a snow globe and change the shape of the map stacks in the jar.
 These are for my day 331. I used one of the photos labeled 1948 - Opera Martha combined with my photos from back when I was using film.
 I'm very taken by the narrative that gets set up when I combine two disparate photos.
 In today's pieces (day 332) I used a photo that I took at the Tour de France in 1990, in Paris. It's quite uninteresting. I paired each half with half of a photo of my deceased friend's father and his wife.
 The photo of Phil and Pearl was taken in Miami Beach, Florida, USA. I'm using fragments of sentences from an old art history book as titles. "Phil - His emotions woke in me something of a conscious grasp of the problems..."  "Pearl - Expressive emphasis which breaks down their separate identities..."
At the end of my 365 project, I'm going to give away my rubber stamp to someone who's still doing daily mail art.  I"m asking people to send me their name and I'll assign a number, then select the winner via a random number generator. so far, only one person has said that they're interested. Hmmm. I might not need the RNG.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday update

 Last night was the last session of my 2 D design class at the VMFA studio school. I had a small, but fabulous, group of people attended. Here's a display of some of the experiences from the last session. I hope that the students, all adults who are involved in the arts, found the information and experiences useful.
 For Tuesday's mail art, I used two photos, which I'd torn in half.  One is a "found" photo, in that it was given to me by a friend. It came in a box of family photos but no one knew who the people were.
 The other snapshot is one that I'd taken in Paris a number of years ago. It was from the front entry area of Le Lapin Agile up on Montmartre. The snap wasn't particularly interesting, but by tearing it in half and combining it with another, gave it something. I put some transparent papers over the cards and added a vintage Turkish stamp to each.
 Today's mail art uses another of the found photos and a snap I took of a video that was being shown in an art exhibit in Brussels. Again, not a very interesting snapshot by itself. I added a torn strip of some old, yellowed, paper. I like the way it divides the entire piece, and yet it holds together.
Every time I pass this sign, I'm intrigued. It's on a fenced in property in the middle of two alleys in the 2200 block of my street and the street to the north of our house. It's an empty space basically, with some grass and a tin roofed structure with no walls. There is nothing one could hunt or trap (maybe a mouse?) and no body of water one could hope to catch a fish in, so the sign is pretty strange. Why not just a "no trespassing" sign? This seems like "overkill." Have you seen any odd signs recently?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, a new week starting!

 Little Sydney got picked up last night and we were so sad to see him go, but he was so excited to see his people again! So cute. We have offered to watch him any time. It was such fun to have a pup around.
 Syd's people brought us back some treats from their trip.  A whole lot of spices from the spice market in Istanbul.
 I can't wait to make some safran rice!
 Yesterday's mail art, another photo of that Lake, which I know think is Lake Tiorati. I found that it exists!! It's in New York State.
I'm using up old snapshots that a friend inherited and had no idea who the people in the pictures were. They make such fun mail art. I liked how one of the negatives showed up so nicely as a positive.

Clck on this link for something fun.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday and another wedding!

 Cheryl Penn, who's a book artist in South Africa, sent me two sets of photos that she'd taken of the top of a table in a painting studio. She asked me to alter and return one set.
 I decided to use a figure that I have multiples of, like this image a lot. I placed her on the photo in a way that I hoped would give the flat surface some depth. I then added a framing device to select a tiny portion of the surface, just as Cheryl had done in her selection of the larger area. I like the way the two images changed the depth and the perception of what was going on.
This is day #326's mail art. 4 bits from a drawer. I have a few more old photos and negatives to play with. I want to use them up before 30 Nov., which is the last day of the project. Yikes.

Here's a bit of information about the stamp in the previous post. My friend, Katerina in Thessaloniki, sent it to me.
It was issued the year our son was born.

 U.S. #1455
8¢ Family Planning

Issue Date: March 18, 1972
City: New York, NY
Quantity: 153,025,000
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Perforations: 11
Color: Multicolored

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday, already!?

 This is a detail of a watercolor by my friend who died last Dec. Her birthday would have been celebrated last Friday. I think of her almost every day.  I have incorporated part of this in one of my tattoos, so she's with me all the time.
This card was done for yesterday's daily mail art.
It was day #324. I decided to use 4 things
out of a little storage drawer filled with bits.

This card is day #325's card and I decided to stick with the same drawer of bits, again using only 4 things.  Having a lot of bits already cut out, and a lot of odds and ends, is very helpful to making mail art every single day. It doesn't take very long, though I think that years of teaching basic design comes into play, well, for sure they do. And keeping in mind, simplicity, and not thinking about having to be perfect. Some really wonderful, fun things a have come out of this year's play. I can't believe it's almost over. 

I buy a lot of postage stamps from the USPS, but every once in awhile, I buy some unused, of course, vintage stamps. I don't ask for anything specific, loving the surprise of what's in the envelope. Check out this one! Can you imagine this getting "published" in our current political climate! Okay, postage historians out there, what year was this?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day #323 and more

 This is Sidney, whose owners are on a trip to Turkey. We're so happy that we could be the dog sitters for this little guy. He's very calm and easy to care for, and since I'm not feeling well, and spend most of my time laying about the house, he's good company curled up next to me.
 Today's mail art, more of the painted women traipsing past Tiny Town.
I'm having such fun cutting up old paintings. I love the way the scale throws me off, makes me wonder what's going on in the minds of those little people in the town.
Okay so I have to tell you that I'm feeling a bit crazed about saying yes to an edition of 21 pieces for the art-o-mat machine at the Visual Arts Center. Why oh why did I think this would be good, oh maybe because I wasn't ill when I said yes, and now I have a bad cold on top of still having to make platelets, and I have no energy, or stamina. I have 21 blocks of wood. What will I do with them. I've only a vague idea. Soon as I feel a bit more energy, I'll make some sample, test some materials. AAAGH!  What was I thinking!? I'll keep you informed.

Wednesday update

 Here's another image from Asheville. I love this person's work. They're etched! They look like thread, very delicate. The light catches the etched line and changes the shadings. So cool.
 There was a cabinet full of glass birds. Spectacular. They're very expensive and very worth it if one has the money. These were at the Blue Spiral gallery. The artists' names are problem on their site.
 This is from the original drug store from the turn of the last century, in Biltmore Village. The shop has lots of the old fittings but is a gift and furniture store.
 Monday, I relaxed in my garden. It was probably the last of the hot days for us. My honey got lots of little pumpkins on sale and put them around the tree. We're planning a party with our neighbor, again, in a couple of weeks. I hope the pumpkins last!
 It's amazing, these are day 322 cards. I'm back to the invasion of the painted woman appearing in Tiny Town.
 This one is a bit different but I think it works.
Putting this little pink nude on the landscape made me laugh. How indifferent the hunters are! ha ha ha

Now, I'm down with a cold, so I'll just hang out in the house, and drink tea, and eventually make today's mail art.

We had a lovely weekend in Asheville. The weather was perfect and we are happy that our son has a partner in life.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A cool machine & some mail art

 It's a gray day, back in Richmond, VA. The weekend was lovely.  We have a daughter-in-law now. Sweet.

This cool machine was not for sale, not that I'd have bought it; because, I already own two vintage machines, but not as COOL as this one. It's so basic and you can see how the parts work.
 This is the last card I made while in Asheville using scraps from brochures. Asheville is definitely an art town. Lots of visual art, crafts, music, and lots of good food. I don't think one can eat a bad meal in that town. We stayed at a hotel up the road from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate, and could walk down the street to Biltmore Village, which is now lots of shops and restaurants but was built around the turn of the last century to support the estate. Workers housing maybe. I'll post a few more pix of the place.
 Today's mail art cards are just fun, playful for me. I'd cut circles out of some images of paintings (Matisse?) and like the way I can create a bit of a transparency thing where the circles overlap the color.
The transparency, or whatever the illusion is, seems stronger on this card. I really like the way it turned out. I didn't spend a lot of time on these, needed to pop them out quickly as the day is going to be spent recovering (shhh, I have a sore throat) laying about, drinking tea, and reading.
Just having lots of bits at hand makes daily making easy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Action Day - FOOD

Today is Blog Action Day and the topic is food. I wasn't sure how to talk about this subject. I love food! I love to cook, I like supporting my local farmers, I like that my son started making the CSA movement in our community more visible, and I've read many books about food. I'd like to share a memory that I recently told M. about. When I started being involved in a food coop, I only thought about getting good food at lower prices. One of the members would talk about Food as a political issue. I was clueless. I listened, I learned. He suggested I read the book Food for People Not for Profit and my mind was opened. Here's some information that I read recently.

The world can feed itself without ruining the planet, study says

Author Jon Foley says feeding a growing world presents a huge challenge. But employing many strategies simultaneously can meet the problem.

...... a new study in the journal Nature argues that we can feed the world’s growing population without destroying the planet… if we make major adjustments now in agricultural and consumption practices and patterns. (Hey, if it were easy, we’d already be there, right?)
Based on new data about the Earth’s agricultural lands and crop yields, the study offers some core strategies to meet future food production needs and environmental challenges. Those strategies include:
  • Stop farming in places like tropical rainforests, which have high ecological value and low food output;
  • Improve crop yields in regions of Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, where farmland isn’t meeting its potential;
  • Change farming practices to better manage water, nutrients, and chemicals;
  • Shift diets away from meat; and
  • Stop wasting food (up to 1/3 of all food grown is wasted either in production, transport, or after purchase).
Taken together, these strategies could lead to 100-180 percent more food available for consumption and sustain the lakes, rivers, forests, and soil that food production depends on.
We found that there is no silver bullet – we need to incorporate the best of what we know now into solving the world’s food problems and protecting our natural resources.
Can we do it? We have to – it’s absolutely necessary. It’s up to us to decide what’s politically feasible. We can change how we govern, tax, ship, produce, etc. What we can’t change are the laws of physics.
READ the complete article here.