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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Art builds community-our Artist Way Journey

Eileen and I have had the privilege of being a part of a group of amazing woman formed 10 years ago to explore, Julia Cameron's book, The Artist Way. We spent the first couple of years meeting once a month to discuss and explore the book's ideas and work through the exercises which are designed to "unblock creativity." Through the years our group has experienced art through reading and discussing different creativity books, guest artists-leading us through the art process, our own group pass around everyday objects-which have turned into art pieces, art challenges we have given each other...and many other fabulous experiences.

Our group started out with 10 women. We are now a strong 7; 2 of the original AW members moved to the east coast and our dear friend Stacie lost a long, courageous battle last year to breast cancer. We wish we could all remain the same group with our 10 original members-but that is not how life works. We miss those who are not with us and celebrate each other when we can get together. Not all of us consider ourselves artists or even creative...BUT we are all open to the creative process and have seen major shifts in our lives because of this-

Our last meeting together we explored a mixed media canvas project led by a guest artist. We also celebrated one of our member's birthdays. We are so lucky to have found each other...

FOOD also seems to play into our time together!
A number of our AW women are AMAZING cooks and really is ART!
The art process, like life, seems to always be MESSY, unpredictable and out of our control-
But the RESULTS though varied and all unique NEVER cease to AMAZE me!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

addendum to Food as Art

I created a better "closing" picture for my Food as Art post:
My pantry shelf 1/2 full with Tomato Jam...I think I can probably get one more batch of tomatoes next week at the Farmer's Market...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Food as art

Last year I thought it would be fun to try canning. My grandma Hill always made her own ketchup. I have vivid memories of her bottles of homemade ketchup, sealed with wax, lining her pantry walls. We would visit her in Parma, Ohio every summer for 2 weeks. One summer when I was probably about 9, I stayed with her by myself (don't have any idea why) and I remember helping her make her ketchup.
Well last summer I came upon a book, Food in Jars; Preserving in small batches by Marisa McClellan. There is a recipe for Tomato Jam-which when made is almost exactly like my grandmother's ketchup?! Needless to say I have made it both last summer and this summer with the Midwest farmer's market tomatoes-which are only in season a few short weeks each summer. I am convinced that food is ART- when prepared with love and a desire to capture a moment.
Tomatoes from my husband Billy's garden. As well as peppers, onions and tomatoes from the CSA we belong to.
Canning is not a fast process. Nor does it produce a whole bunch of product-BUT it is pretty satisfying hearing the "ting/pop" when the jars are filled and have been processed.
These veggies cook and cook... and cook some more- and make the whole house smell WONDERFUL!
Look at all those jars! I get to enjoy my yummy tomato jam with my family and friends all winter long-and I get to remember and pay homage to my paternal grandmother.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Art in Harbert MI

I was lucky enough to visit one of my favorite galleries in Harbert, MI.  The Judith Racht Gallery specializes in Outsider Art. Outsider Art is a broad term used to describe work by untrained artists, some with disabilities and some just living outside the boundaries of conventional culture.  One of the things I find most exciting about the work is that it is often unknown.  Either an unknown artist or an unknown explanation to the work.  It makes you think, or not.

This did not make me think but it did make me smile.  Love the curly hair and tail.

I love a good primitive piece.  This is beautifully made and I love the use of the red paint.

 This is a memory jar.  These were made in memory of loved ones. Makes me sad to think that it is in an art gallery now but I think it is a great piece.  I think we all could recognize a bobble worn by a crazy cousin on this. Dang, I wish it was not so expensive.

Oh my, how I wish I had $1500 for this series.  I just love the execution and simplicity.

Lastly, I would love to put these in front of my house with a crazy plant in the summer. I keep thinking about it. It would really disturb my children I think.  Do I dare?

Have a good week all.  Stop by your local gallery and see what they have.  Take some time to day dream.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lucy's Year long project-part 2 My Fabric Pallet

I am Obsessed! I attended a plant fiber dyeing class last May with my mother and dear friends; Laura and her mother Priscilla. Every six weeks or so we get together for “Mother/Daughter Art” (I will have to devote a post to that special endeavor) and explore different projects together. WELL…we did a weekend away at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI. We were immersed in the dyeing of cotton fabric and yarn. Now I can’t stop…. So here are just some of the results of my obsession.

This piece of fabric was ice dyed. You put ice in a bucket with your soda ash treated wet fabric, then the powder dye on top of the ice. Let melt for 24 hours- and rinse like crazy. To me it almost has a "painterly" effect.

What I LOVE about hand dyed fabric is the variation in texture and color.

I like to think this is my final pallet of fabric for my year long quilt project-BUT I figure I have a good 6 weeks of dying time (best to do it outside with the garden hose!) here in Chicago.
The women who inspire me: My Mom on the right and Priscilla on the left. They have created full lives with art and craft as a central theme. I am who I am today because of their love, direction, and always inspiring lives! (I think probably the DADS have played a part as well-good thing I have this blog for a WHOLE year!)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mushrooms are beautiful...

I was at Anthropologie the other day and was struck by the simple mushrooms made from painted tissue paper and attached to a stump. So beautiful, so creative and so natural.  I must try to make my own version of that.

I came home and starting looking in my yard and I had 4 varieties of mushrooms growing in my yard that very same day. I was taken by how different and delicate they were.

This one reminded me of a sunflower. Tall and showy. 

This mushroom is not delicate.  It looks like it has bloody tip and mud dripping down the top.  In the Victorian Language of Flowers Mushrooms mean "suspicion".  They must have used this one as a reference. 

This mushroom looks like a fairy could stand under it to shield herself from the sunlight.  

I love how artist Amy Ross has been inspired by mushroom's. 

Chilean Artist Guillermo Molina makes the most charming mushrooms

Go outside the morning after a rain and see what is popping through your mulch.  Art.


Monday, September 2, 2013

I have a dream...

       This past week marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous, "I Have a Dream" speech. 50 years later we have achieved much of his dream-BUT not all. I would like to move his dream forward by seeing all children have access to empowering, inspiring and creative schools-not dependent on the home address that children occupy. I don't think our nation has achieved this.....we have work to do-that's my day job.
       BUT-that is not my dream-that is an extension of his dream. My dream is much less loft....Many of you even know my dream-it is to own my own shop. The space even has a name, "The Creativity Shop." In my mind my shop has long wooden tables with stools and benches-allowing creativity classes to be led and individuals to work on all kinds of projects. The walls will be lined with shelves filled with bolts of fabric, bins of interesting papers and art supplies, bottles and jars containing buttons, ribbons, doodads of all kinds. There will be a comfortable place for collaboration and people to gather to connect. The front of the shop will be a gallery space and retail for local/regional artists and interesting funky art supplies.
         Why do I think this dream is worth pursuing? Because when I have presented my wacky creative/art ideas to my friends and family (who remembers the Shakespeare garden?!) most times I get rolled eyed responses which read, " WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THAT BE A GOOD IDEA?!" But I have found time and time again that those same people who I have roped into doing these wacky projects get lost in the process and I have witnessed much smiling, laughter and even sometimes learning a life lesson about themselves. I believe that does make our world a better place!
         I am not sure when my dream will become a reality-until then I will be dragging anyone who wants to through the seeds of "The Creativity Shop." Here are some of the adventures we have had so far....
This motley crew are some of my nieces, nephews and my sisters and brother in law in our ice dyed t-shirts this past summer

This was my wacky yarn bomb which I talked all kinds of people into. Those are knit birds in paper mache nests. They went all over our town-April 1, 2012.

My family doing projects at the Art Barn in Saugatuck, MI.
Picking-up our art pieces 2 days later.

My BFF whom I can talk into ANYTHING! (Lucy on the left and Eileen on the right)
We created ceramic birds at Lilstreet Arts Center in Chicago. Never mind that they turned out more like dinosaur than birds!

So glad I have such willing family members and friends that I can talk into following my dream!