*editing on 5/25 to share the title: Random Influences

I don't have a title for this yet, but I had to post it. I'm really, really excited about this piece...I've been struggling for the past few months in terms of trying to break through to another level of narrative with my work. I've been wanting it to say more, but I'm not an illustrator, nor do I feel comfortable with really heavy symbolism, etc. I always end up feeling like my work looks contrived when I go in those directions.

In this piece, I'm using vintage materials like time cards and ledger pages and a practice target, which speak to me of accuracy, record keeping and validation- but also bingo cards and game pieces, which to me represent a kind of randomness. I've been thinking lately about how all of kinds of ordinary things can make you feel a little pushed around and windblown. So many obligations demand our attention, but in the big picture, you really have to wonder how much of your energy they all deserve. I think if you have a strong foundation that makes you feel at least a little anchored, you can weather the storm. I like how the house is feeling the strain of that big blue cloud- but it's pretty solid, and you get the feeling it'll still be there, and it'll be just fine once it all blows over.

There are two more detail shots I wanted to share - they were difficult to capture, given the reflectiveness of the glass, but they're critical parts of the whole piece:

It's in a shadowbox frame that my husband and I built. Someone once suggested that if my work was going into shadowboxes, I should consider pushing that third dimension a little more. I've had that in the back of my mind for a while- and love the way I went for it in this piece - I included a handful of vintage bingo chips and numbers in the space. They're not fixed down- that's intentional. I like the idea that they'll move around a bit in transport- and if someone were to take this home and hang it, the way the pieces end up will be totally random and largely out of their control. But that's not something to be concerned about- they'll be just right- however they end up. 

I'd love to hear what you think about this piece...if you're not sure about how to comment here on blogger- just know you can submit comments and choose 'annonymous' as your identity. Or, if you click the link up top for my full profile, you'll my email on my profile page.

OK- now, enough chit-chat, I've got to go get some stuff ready for showing next week!


barn sale bonanza

For the longest time, I've envied my friend, Kim, of the wonderful chez-sucre-chez, for her access to great Amish thrift and vintage finds. I've done pretty well for myself in the antiques multiplexes of Milwaukee, but loved the idea of finding treasures in a more intimate, personal setting. Now that we've moved out of the city up to the edge of rural farmland, I've no more reason to envy- because it's Barn Sale Season!

Check. It. Out:

All this great stuff for the studio- sewing and needlework patterns, school books and a vintage Bingo game, a box of random papers- lots of tiny calendars and ledger pages- as well as, I believe, some targets for shooting practice (?). Last- but so, so, so not least-  a cigar box stuffed to overflowing with rick-rack, piping and other sewing notions. If I weren't so excited for the potential those actual textiles hold for my wine tags & notecards, I'd have still bought the lot for the fantastic labels on the cards.

And wait, wait! That's not all! I also got 5 big tomato cages for the garden (I can justify these jaunts easily when I also find useful household items), and this fantastic old honey container and some wonderful berry cartons:

I'm off to the studio now...Today was supposed to be all about getting work ready for hanging for my upcoming show, but now I'm itching to dive into my new stuff and get some new work going. (Oh yeah- almost forgot: all of the above (including the tomato cages) was $15...made my day!)


responsibilities and productivity -v- comfy denial

I thought I'd stop in and just say sorry for not really posting much about new work lately...it's just been hard to take the responsibilities of having a blog too seriously, as we've had lots of great spring weather to muck about in. Over the last week or so, we built a big box and wheelbarrowed 4 yards of a dirt/compost mix and now the garden is in! (everything's sprouting!) The patio's cleaned off and a new picnic table has been assembled, and many moments have been enjoyed with a good book and something to drink while the kids perfected monkey-bar-swinging and the dog relished interesting smelling spring smells in the yard. Sorry I don't have pictures of all that, but I've always had a hard time breaking off from enjoyment to take a picture of whatever it is I'm enjoying.

Today, however, I thought I'd share this: Laziness and snuggliness on a Friday morning.

Let me tell you, letting the dog and the little brother climb in to snuggle with the big brother is a sure recipe for big brother being late for school. But look at those faces- It was totally worth it. You won't see many pictures of my kids on this blog- but this one just felt like it needed to be shared.

Enjoy your weekend!



Yay! I've something to post! Just some little things- some wine bottle hang-tags I whipped up. You just slip the ribbon loop over the neck of the bottle, and voila! instant hostess or birthday, or whatever present. I made the two up top from vintage alphabet flashcards- W for white, and R for red. I added some old origami paper and a bit from some old notebook paper for writing your greeting on. And a classic gold star for merit. Is it inappropriate to be decking a wine-tag with vintage elementary school ephemera?

The other ones are some of a bunch I made and presented with a lovely Chardonnay for my mom as part of her Mother's Day gift. They're made with bits of old tag-board, some maps and painted bits from my studio. The crazy orange and yellow paper is vintage shelf-lining paper!

I've been making these, and similarly constructed notecards, as gifts- but have a goal to work up a stockpile of such handmade items as a little side-line business I plan to start up in late summer. It's hard to find quality studio time in the summer, what with the kiddos home from school- but I'd like to steal away a half hour here and there to make up cards and notes and tags and such- maybe even a few more celebration buntings. The plan is to open up an online shop in late summer, and also to have some of these items available for an October art show I'm participating in. Both kids are in school all day next year...I'm already planning ahead for the extra time I'll gain each day!


Calendar collages: September

Here's one more finished piece for the series representing the months of the year, called Thirty Days. You won't believe where it started. Below is a shot of how it started out, which I posted a bit ago in this post. I basically scrapped it, painted over it, completely turned it around. It ended up as a brighter, sunnier take on the final days of summer you get in September.  You never know what's going t ohappen, do you? I like that original color palette though- I may revisit that somewhere down the line.