Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Greeting Cards

It's a rainy day here in Kalamazoo and I'm feeling the need for some color! So, I'd like to show you what I have available in cards that feature the wonders of Spring. Perfect for the gardener or someone that just needs a lift, they are blank inside giving you room for your own message. Each card is $3.50 (or buy 4 or more and they are $3.00 each) and I pay the postage to get the card(s) to you. Now there's a deal you won't get from Hallmark! Send someone you care about a card that was made by a working artist. Both the recipient and I will love you for it! :)

Paper mosaic - yellow daisy

Paper mosaic - blue daisy

Garden fairies come at dawn, bless the flowers, then they're gone.

Where flowers bloom so does hope

Dirt Diva


We Have Potential

A bird in the hand

Thanks for looking. Let know if you're interested in any of the above.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Honor our Earth - Papermaking project

For years I've been making paper with younger kids at the elementary school level on an Earth Day project. For a month or so prior to the actual papermaking day the kids collect all the blue and green paper they get in their regular mail or school handouts. You'd be surprised how much blue and green paper is in use, especially in elementary school!

When the day arrives, we put the paper into the blender and I show the kids how the paper breaks down. (I beat most of the paper ahead of time in a bigger beater or we'd be at the blender all day!). Oh they love to push the "blend" button and see the pieces of paper go whishing around. Now they have pulp to play with.

Using the tin can/pouring method to make round sheets of paper, the kids use the blue pulp to make the oceans and the green paper to make the continents. Some kids try to be so precise with their pours. Others just dump it in and are done. All of them have a ball. I board dry so they can do some embossing on the sheets as well. As you can see in the picture, this little artist chose to also use some oil pastels and outline a heart.

After the sheets are dry, I go back into the classroom to help them each bind an Earth Day booklet in which they write their wishes for the world. Here are a couple of things that the kids have written: I wish pepeal wouldn't litter, I wish there was a law when you cut down a tree you had to plant one. I can recycle by wrighting on both sides of the paper.

This is a great example of taking a curriculum topic and turning it into a fun classroom activity. In fact, papermaking can be turned into almost any school topic: chemistry, colonial careers, the Oregon Trail, botany, etc. If you're interested in additional details on this Earth Day project, I wrote an article on the process for PapermakingZine a few years ago and would be glad to share it with you.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Break

One week ago today we returned from a spring break trip to Williamsburg, VA and Washington DC. But, from looking at this first picture,I'll bet you might have guessed that!

We enjoyed a visit with family, took in more history than was wanted (at least from the kids' perspective), enjoyed roller coaster after roller coaster at Busch Gardens, ate well in Georgetown and walked, walked, walked, walked in DC.

I won't bore you with the traditional shots of the Washington Monument and other noteable sites. You've seen them all before and certainly with a better camera than mine. But, here are some pictures of those "traditional" places from a different perspective...

The beautiful Virgina vista surrounding Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

The cistern (I think) roof at Monticello.

Williamsburg brickwork.

A display of arms at the Governor's Palace, Williamsburg.

The ceiling of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC.

The rotunda dome of the Musuem of Natural History, Washington DC

And now for some real fun:

Hope you're enjoying spring, where ever you may be.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Style of Mosaic Sheets

This is one of those ideas that hit me just as I was in that in between state of awareness and sleep. Miraculously, I actually remembered the idea the following morning! I worked on these just before we left for our vacation last week.

As I showed you last month, I've been making mosaic tile sheets. (My dear arty friend, Joanne, appropriately calls them "component parts".) These mosaic sheets were obviously on my mind as I was trying to get to sleep and my brain was working through a design problem. The problem is that the precise grid-like sheets don't always work for a more free form end product. Well, duh? How about making mosaic tile sheets that aren't so grid-like. Here are my first attempts. I like the results so I think you'll be seeing more of this style in my finished work.

The two red/pink/orange sheets are identical except one has black "grout" and one has white "grout". It's amazing how different they look. Which do you like better?


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Music - Up close and personal

Music: I thought I'd show you the before and after on the photo that I used in the Music spread for the Altered Sister's Round Robin. So, here is before...

Up Close: Here is the "after" artwork, cropped in tight. The cement on the bottom of the photo remained, and became the staff for the notes, but I cut away the top of the photo just above the sculptural round forms. When I alter the photos, I am doing it all by hand, not digitally.

Personal: This photo was taken one year ago exactly. We went to Seattle/Olympic Peninsula last year on Spring Break. How can a year have gone by already?!? What a great family trip that was. And, as a bonus, I was able to go to Artfest in Port Townsend, Washington. That retreat, even though it was a year ago, is worthy of a series of posts. I'll have to get on that!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Altered Sister's Round Robin - book two

It's time for another Altered Sister's meeting and that means I've had someone else's book to work in for the last month. I actually had to plan ahead for a change because we've left town on a spring break trip to Williamsburg, VA and Washington DC. I got the book done ahead of leaving and it has been delivered to the group for the next round in the robin. (Well, you know what I mean!)

This book belongs to Laura and the theme is Music. I must confess, that while I enjoy music (Chris Isaak, Matchbox 20, blues/jazz), I seldom listen to it and it would not be on my short list of things that inspire me. Ok, now you can all think to yourselves "what a weirdo, no music in her life."

Well, one thing is for sure, I still can appreciate music and the effort it takes to make good music. My youngest is starting her second year of piano and really enjoys it. She is working hard to get ready for her first piano recital so this effort, rather than the music itself, is what I have in my mind right now.

Given this brief history/scenario, here is my spread in the book, Music.

I promised myself that for this round robin, I would alter a photograph for each book. Based on the photos I have and the theme for this month, it was a toughy to figure out how I was going to pull this off. Finally I remembered a photograph I took last year in Seattle near the Space Needle. The huge sculpural balls reminded me of musical notes, so off I went to the studio. I did some scratching/carving in this book as well.

The end result is kind of a blood, sweat and tears thing. No guts, no glory. Work hard, Alicia, you can do it. Get it? I struggled with this spread and I think it shows. Whenever there is a lack of color in my work I get uncomfortable. Nonetheless, I hope Laura likes it as it is hers now to keep.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools' Day

On April Fools' Day, and everyday, remember that:

Here's to hoping that you get fooled at least once today!

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