Thursday, September 29, 2011

B & B...

It's just a few days until October and that means BLOGTOBERFEST!!

It also means The Big Draw LA begins...

I've participated in Blogtoberfest since I first began my blog in 2009, so this will be my third year of participating. It will be a bit challenging though, since I don't have internet at home, so I'll have to plan quite a few posts in advance and I think I know how I might approach it. With several events for The Big Draw LA on the horizon, it's made me think how I've been wanting to get back to practicing my drawing skills...

My hand - class exercise from my Life Drawing class back in 1994 - that was MANY years ago!

Since Jane from City Hearts told me about this fabulous project, it's gotten my imagination fired up to start sketching again. I got a hand made sketchbook made from recycled materials at the City Hearts fundraiser to use for the month - Jane has some great ideas for all those who have a sketchbook, that she has shared with me...

My Big Draw LA sketchbook to use during October - I'll share my sketches throughout the month...

I have an idea to post my drawings during the month. Some of them may be from my old portfolio, but they are still good - drawings don't go bad, thankfully!

A still life exercise for the same Life Drawing class...

I have a few other ideas for this years Blogtoberfest, but you'll have to stay tuned to see what they are! In the meantime, if you're interested in participating in Blogtoberfest, here is where you can get more info - sign up begins on September 30 which is TOMORROW!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Art at the Fundraiser...

It was my third year attending the fundraiser for City Hearts on Sunday and it was a wonderful event...

First, was a drive along Kanan Road with an overcast sky that promised a day of mild weather, instead of the usual late summer heat. Then, I spied some of the rocks that surround Saddlerock Ranch, the venue for the fundraiser...


There is always great food provided by fabulous restaurants and bakeries, but I was so hungry that I didn't think of taking pictures of the food samples, but trust me when I say that it was all very tasty!

Nic Harcourt is always there spinning great tunes, but this year there was the addition of a live band with singer Inara George. Her young son wanted to dance to the music as you can see here:

This little chap was highly entertaining and his mom was a pretty good singer too - it runs in the family I guess! ;)

She had a great sound and I'm hoping she will sell her music cd's on her website soon - it's great music to listen to while creating in my creative play-space and I want to buy from her directly if I can and support a local artist...

I made an attempt to support a local artist by putting in a bid for a recycled light fixture that was part of the art auction I donated my art book to:

There were two light fixtures and it was hard to choose one, but I think someone outbid me - DRAT!

There was a LOT of highly creative recycled art at the auction:

"Bag the Turkey" made from recycled plastic shopping bags!

"Colorful Fish" made from plastic shampoo bottles - it looks like painted metal, doesn't it?!
***   ***   ***

I had an interesting challenge come up the day before the event. I received a call from one of the ladies at City Hearts asking about the value of my art book. It was not listed on the artist donation form that is required before submitting the donation, so I didn't think about it until I was asked...

Here is how the "Going Green for the Arts" art auction looked at the fundraiser - so much creativity!

I got the voice mail late in the day, so I left a message at the office, hoping they would receive it before the event, then I emailed a message with the same information: "please list the value of the art book at $25"...

My art book had at least one bid before I left - I'm glad to know it brought in some money for City Hearts!

I got a quick response from Jane that she had listed the value of my art book for $60!!

I'm lucky to be surrounded by friends that know the true value of my work, even if I don't...

But it also reminded me that I still have quite a ways to go in the area of pricing my work for it's value...


I was going to list the value of this hand-bound, hand-crafted book for a mere $25?? What was I thinking??!?!?!

It is hard to figure out a price for ones work. There are the supplies that go into an item and the time it takes to make the item. This book was made from mostly recycled goods, but not all the supplies were 'free' and it took time to make it, especially after the first idea for binding it didn't work at all and I had to re-stitch the signatures afresh...

A nice binding, though not what I'd originally planned/designed...

Sadly, pricing artwork is not a topic discussed in art classes* very often, though it should be a curriculum all it's own. I've heard from many artist friends that it just wasn't covered in the course of their studies. I think it's a part of the lack of support that artists face when working toward a self-sustaining lifestyle and it adds to the difficulties we face when launching a creative business.

Now, compound the difficulties with people being reluctant to discuss this important topic amongst themselves and we have a problem for artists, indeed...

I can see that I need to find some resources that address this issue. I have to figure out this aspect of pricing soon since I'm scheduled to participate in a craft show the first weekend of November which is coming in a few weeks - wish me luck!


* - this applies to Fashion Design school as well as the Fine Arts...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Going Postal


These mail boxes are at my local US Post Office - it's so close I walk there!

There has been a lot of talk lately about the United States Postal Service shutting down Saturday mail delivery, not to mention closing down several post offices. I really couldn't understand how this could be until I found this blog post at The Missive Maven, a great blog that celebrates all things mail and letter writing...

Stationery from my personal collection - I'm overdue for sending some 'love' through the mail...

I participate in mail art collaborations and I use the USPS to ship my goods that I sell at my other Etsy shop, as do many, many other Etsy sellers, so I really didn't understand how the USPS could be in such dire straits with their budget. After reading through some of the links provided by The Missive Maven, the situation is lot clearer...but no less easier to solve...

Postcards from my personal collection that have been sent or will soon be sent out to friends near and far...

There will be rallies to support the USPS next week on September 27, but this blog post at Save The Post Office mentions showing your support for our mail carriers by sending a special message on your outgoing mail. I'll be sure to add my "heart" when I send along some of the notecards and postcards I've shown so far...

Some "love" I sent in the mail just yesterday!

If you'd like to show support for the USPS, or learn more about what's happening with the USPS, here are links to get you started, many of them found at The Missive Maven*:

This seems to be the most comprehensive site on the current situation facing the United States Postal Service and you can find the link to Send the Love on this site, which has a wonderful story about a small town post office that's definitely worth reading

You can find information on the Congressional Mandate that is the central issue, congressional events taking place around the country and a petition you can download to collect the signatures of others that are concerned about the future of our USPS

Many USPS postal workers are (anonymously!) discussing what the future may look like for the USPS at this blog

I urge you to check out this video clip of Thom Hartmann speaking with Chuck Zlatkin, the Legislative and Political Director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union - this interview really sheds light on what's really happening with the US Postal Service**

 And finally:
NPR Interview with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe that took place this week - he still pays his bills by snail mail! Maybe I should follow his example =-)


To my overseas blog readers: I'd love to hear about the postal services in your areas and what makes it great - maybe there are some ideas that can be sent to our Congress to solve this postal service issue.

And of course, many thanks to the wonderful folks who keep delivering our letters, mail art and special packages. Let's keep those cards and letters going!

* - Many thanks to The Missive Maven for helping to shed light on this situation
** - Many thanks to my dear boyfriend for finding the video interview

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Art Book Project Completed!

It's finished!

My art book project for the City Hearts fundraiser is completed, signed and delivered to the offices...

The front of the book...

I delivered my art book to the ladies of City Hearts yesterday afternoon and the ladies just loved it!

The back of the book...

All artists were asked to include a heart in the work as a reference to the organization, City Hearts. I added a heart to the back of the book, as well as the front...

My bottle cap embellishment to be used as a closure for the book - dyed string will tie around the cap to keep the book closed snugly...

Some time ago, I had been inspired by my blog buddy Mel to try out making some bottle cap embellishments. I thought I could make one for the art book and I like how it turned out. Many thanks to Mel for the inspiration!

A detail shot of the bottle cap book closure...another heart to denote City Hearts =-)

I've shown some book labels I made, with help from my friend Diana, who was kind enough to let me make up several stampings of her wonderful rubber stamp "hand crafted book limited edition". I've used the labels before on another book and of course had to use one with this book as well...Many thanks go to Diana for allowing me to use that fabulous rubber stamp! I hope to find a fabulous stamp like that or perhaps I'll create one for use on future art books that I create...

A signed and dated art book with a little help from Diana's wonderful rubber stamp for book makers!

Of course, no book is complete without a book marker and I made a simple one for this book using an old button, adding it to the braid trim and covering the back with a scrap of hemp linen. Scraps of linen were also used on the exposed binding...

My art book has an exposed spine, which proved to be difficult but it all worked out in the end!

My book binding for this book was going to be a mish-mash of traditional methods and funky contemporary ideas, but the funky binding ideas were not working at all and I had to undo all the hand stitching on each signature and start afresh. I hid the knots of the stitching with the linen scraps!

I also made up a tag with a list of all the materials that went into the book, which is tucked into the front page of the book...


I loved making this book - I've got to make one of these books for myself now!


I "heart" handmade books!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Project in Progress...

Hello dear blog readers!

Thank you all for your lovely comments and well wishes on my sinus issues. I'm feeling much better and the heat wave has gone so I've been able to start doing more clean up and clear out in my home, in addition to starting on a fun project that will be part of an art auction for City Hearts coming up next weekend...

I've blogged about my work with City Hearts, a great non-profit organization that provides art education to low income, at-risk children in Los Angeles. They provided great programming to the after-school program I used to work with until this past June. Though I no longer work for the after-school program*, my relationship with City Hearts has not ended and I'm very happy about that!

Last year, I was invited to create art for their special 25 year anniversary auction and I was very thrilled to have been invited. This year, I've been invited to donate something to the art auction which has a great theme for this year: "City Hearts Goes Green for the Arts". I decided to create a small art book of pages made from other old books. Here is how it looks so far:

The covers are made from scrap chip board found in the 'trash bin' at my favorite art supply shop - leftover cuttings are always up for grabs for anyone interested in them and this chip board makes excellent book covers...I have more plans for decorating the covers which I'll share when I've completed the book.

The spine will be an exposed binding...so far, I think the spine looks pretty cool as it is!

I'm using a mix of vintage, ephemera and new papers for the signatures of the book. I recently purchased blank sheet music paper, which can used for taking notes while you're out and about...I fully intend this 'art book' to be used by the owner...

Pages from chemistry books, graph paper and colorful scrapbook paper make for a visually interesting book...

I've also included blank paper and tracing paper for making sketches and notes of your sketches...

The back covers so far, but there will be more embellishment to come!

This art book is not very large, since I do intend for the book to be used by the owner, so I kept the size small enough to tuck into a purse or backpack. Of course, whoever bids for this book may choose to keep it as a recycled art object...

I've been working on this project since last week, while making time to do some cleaning/clearing of old video tapes. Yes, believe it or not, I still have a video tape player in my home! It came in handy to play some old videos I made of a great art show called EGG: The Arts Show. It was great to have playing in the background, to listen to people talking about their artwork and to see great visuals when I chose to look up from my own artwork. I've been trying to find this show on DVD, but no luck so far. If I can get internet in my home, I'll certainly watch episodes online, if I can.

I've got to run and finish the book so I can deliver it before the weekend! I'll share images of the completed book soon, so stay tuned!


* - YAY! I can't begin to tell you how happy I've been away from that horrid work environment!! ;)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Touching Base with a Special Sunday Short!

Hello everyone!
I'm taking a minute to share a video I made earlier this week during a trip to Santa Barbara with my friends Diana and Gwynnie to see beauty butterflies at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. This is what the butterflies in motion looked like at the exhibit:


It was a wonderful day that started at Art from Scrap, followed by lunch at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Cafe. I'll be sharing the pictures from that field trip along with pictures from other great field trips taken with a fabulous blog buddy who was visiting from England. It's been quite a Summer Vacation and I'll share it all with you starting September 19th.

In the meantime, I'll be taking one more week to recuperate from sinus issues/allergies I've been dealing with. Until then, I hope you're creating some magic for yourself!