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Monday, March 31, 2014

City Adventure

This past weekend Billy and I had a family wedding event both Friday and Saturday night. We decided to make a weekend of it and stayed in the city! Thanks to Eileen's husband - we stayed at the Conrad Hilton in the heart of the city. We were able to walk to all of our events and not have to worry about coordinating taxis, designated drivers, or traffic! It also gave us time to relaxing in the city on Saturday before the wedding.

My husband,being the good sport that he is, accompanied me to one of my favorite art spots in our city, The Cultural Center of Chicago. The Cultural Center is housed in the old library and has amazing architectural features, wonderful art exhibits, and has all sorts of interesting Chicago displays and it is all FREE to the public!

As I approach The Cultural Center its massive stone structure always impresses me! 

This is just one corner of the very ornate staircases which span 5 floors of the building.

I LOVE the intricate mosaics which are in many hallways

One of the exhibits this time was video. I have yet to embrace the ART of video. Maybe I just don't have enough patience to sit through a 30 minute production?!

There are always the simple beauties to be found on an adventure-the swirl in my cup of coffee was lovely!
 The hotel had a number of beautiful touches of art as well.
This is a cool outdoor exhibit which during the summer is part of a fountain.
Here is a link to the audio which my "WAY AWESOME" husband figured out the technology...
Go find an adventure!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Signs of Spring

Yesterday I took my third graders out for recess. The sun was shining and it looked to be a glorious day. We were out about 15 minutes and as we were coming back in, one of my little boys stated, "AHHH my head is so COLD. I thought it was suppose to be SPRING?!" Alas spring has not fully arrived here in Chicago....But there are a few signs.

A tiny bit of green poking through.

A construction site. Where the back hoe was actually able to dig.

The last little bit (hopefully) of  yucky, dirty snow.


 Magnolia buds and a robin in a tree.

DRATS! I had a video/audio of birds chirping-which I took on my walk to school today-BUT my technology skills have once again thwarted my artistic expression!
                                                           Happy and Hopefully warmer weather to you.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ceramics...phase 1

Session number one of Ceramics sculpture is complete.  It was a wonderful experience.  I really enjoy playing with clay.  Unfortunately, the air quality at the ceramics studio does not agree with my asthma.  To continue I would have to wear a face mask similar to those avoiding the bird flu in Tokyo. Do I do that?  The next session starts on Thursday, I have 4 days to decide.

I have to admit I am more about the end product than the process.  I really like when things come out just the way I want.  Ceramics has so many factors to consider.  The piece can break in the kiln, the glaze does not work out as you expected or crackle...So many things can happen. This is a prime example of what I don't want to EVER happen again.

It is a planter and the first thing I made.  I am really going to have to buy a funky plant...

This is a test tile to practice eyes and glazes.  I posted a picture of the before and this is the after. Sorry it is upside down.  I have tried to fix it to no avail.

Little gnome houses inspired by Mrs Holladys house 

An Irish cottage inspired by our Ireland visits. .

A wall hanging.  I am doing a series of three for my kitchen.

I have more to pieces being fired this week.  Hope they make it out okay.  It is so fun to go to the studio and see what is on your shelf.  The question is do I sign up for the next session or not????

Have a good week all and thanks for reading.  


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Me Artist?!

A couple of weeks back an acquaintance sent me an application for an artist proposal. A local charity is asking 20 artists to transform chairs to be auctioned off at their benefit. Before the benefit the chairs will go into the window of local business and the public will vote on their favorite chair....HUM. What took me back was that someone who doesn't really know me asked me to apply. Sure my friends and family think I can make art-but other people? As the woman who asked me to apply put it, "your name came up when we were brain storming local artist..." WHAT?!!!!

My take away from that is start trusting my instincts. I want "The Creativity Shop" to happen. (Summer 2015) So I need to promote my art and myself to make that happen! SO I am going for it-I am going to put my wacky art out there and see what happens!

I applied. Amazing to me-my proposal was accepted. NOW I have to actually create the transformed chair-

SO the "50 Year Project" once again is on hold....BUT I think all of these other projects; baby Audrey's quilt, the chair, all of the classes I have been taking are going to play into the 50 year project....

The Chair project is going to be a Fiber Art instillation. So by chance, I am taking a screen printing on fabric class down at Lill Street. Here is the screen with images I have created-I am into birds right now.
The screen with ink ready to be printed.

 My work space at Lill Street.
My wacky birds on the ice-dyed fabric I created last summer.
Put yourself out there.
Be Vulnerable.
Trust your instincts!

Monday, March 17, 2014


I am very fortunate to have family living in Ireland. These trips are some of my favorite memories.  My husbands family is welcoming, kind and a lot of fun.  We wish we could get there more often but are so thankful for our Sunday calls and more recently face time. In honor of Patrick's Day I wanted to share some photos we have taken there.

Whenever we go visit I am always taken aback by its raw splendor.  My youngest son was only three years old when he put it best. Driving through Wicklow he said excitedly  "Mom, mom look quick...quick outside the window...its a beautiful world..."  He was right.

I want to leave you with the image of the traditional Irish sing a long.  Takes place in pubs, homes and in this case  Una singing at her daughters wedding. 

If you want to hear it live click on this link.  Just charming.


Happy St Patrick's Day!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Inspiration - is it really stealing?

What is the saying?- "copying is the sincerest form of flattery-" something like that...

I had 2 very different experiences this week which confirm for me, my practice, of sharing anything and almost everything that I do. The first was just a conversation I was having at my local book store. I was talking to the employees and owners about how I am honing my ideas for "The Creativity Shop"(membership based-like a health club, artist-in-residency, hands-on-studio/gallery, focus on paper, paint and fiber.) and that I am targeting Summer 2015 for a of the gals asked if I was keeping quiet, "because maybe you don't want anyone to steal you idea."  NO- I am, telling anyone who will listen. I believe the more I talk about something, the better I get at explaining my ideas... you NEVER know who can help you in your ventures....

The second more interesting experience in "stealing" this week was me doing the stealing! I spent a good part of yesterday helping my friend Janet, String Theory knit store owner, run her first off-site yarn retreat. She found a "popular, young knit toy designer" had just moved to Chicago. She nabbed her for a day long retreat; Knitting in Anna Hrachovec, an absolutely adorable, can't even be thirty yet, artist has found a knitch creating teeny, tiny knit toys!

Anna led a group of women through the creating of her, maybe, 2 inch high gnome. After the gnomes were knit she helped people photograph their gnomes to tell a story. What impressed me SO VERY much about Anna was her willingness to share her art and techniques with her students. She told us the story of how she creates and inspired me to "tell a story." Since I was the helper I did not get to partake in the class, BUT I did get to chat with Anna and maybe make a connection for my art AND she said she would even consider MAYBE being an artist-in-residence for the Creativity Shop!

SO thank you Anna for the inspiration....(hope you don't think I am stealing!)

 These are the post cards which Anna gave to each participant- Her gnomes are anxiously awaiting spring!

"Yellow Bird"

created by Lucy
It has been a very LONG, cold, snowy winter.
 It is the second week of March, Yellow Bird CAN'T figure out why there are still winter decorations displayed?

 She expects to find grass poking through the snow and signs of spring in the air.
 Alas, she only finds indoor spring things-
Yellow Bird is hoping that next time she visits these will be GONE!
 and these adorable little creatures will be made....
Guess we will have to see Yellow Bird?!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Looking for beauty in my day job....

My day job is in the recycling business.  I spend more time than I care to admit looking for recyclables in the trash or analyzing the trash in the recyclables. Nothing like a trip to the food composting facility clear your sinuses. I do a lot of "visual assessments" and when I download my pictures I am sometimes am taken by the pictures of the recycling.  Note I said "sometimes".

Here are a few images I found interesting:

Plastic purge. Love the color and texture

 Wood scrap awaiting to become mulch

Paper punches from  manufacturing plant

Top of cardboard barrel's. Very sculptural.

One persons trash was made into a cool kitchen island.

Let's keep trying to find the beauty in discards. It can make a difference.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Art, like life, is almost always messy

Today's post is going to be the opposite of a "Martha Moment." You know how her magazine Living captures the everyday as nearly perfect. I do love the magazine and adore pouring over it-BUT I have never been able to replicate a cake, a craft or any of the perfect home layouts...I am a "piler." I have piles of books, knitting, school/work bags, art projects, and fabric ALL over the house. I KNOW I drive my type A military man husband CRAZY with all of my piles. I know it is bad, when I can't even stand the piles any longer.
I am at the point right now...the piles are out of control and I am going to have to just set a day aside and organize. Ugh it is not very fun-BUT I do know that when I have gotten my piles down to single layers I will be able to more clearly create my art!

My dear friends got together and created this doll for me. She is absolutely PERFECT and sits in our Living room..


Often times after my young nieces have played with Lucy, I find her like this. Most often when I find her in this state it reminds me how living life is messy and most often exhausting.
My husband Billy really is the only one in our home who could be in a Martha magazine-his closet is pretty much the same all of the time. He can not understand why anyone doesn't just put things in their place after the item has been used?!
Oh yeah that is my closet....AHHHHHHHHHH and I did not change anything for the photo!
Don't you hate it when there are dirty dishes in the sink and you are on your second or third glass of wine?! I at least have to get the coffee ready for the morning...
 This is what NOT to do-studio space and material storage should ALWAYS be organized and clearly marked!
Thankfully, we have a wonderful fireplace which I can escape to and forget about trying to organize all of my piles.
Here's to Martha. And all of the women who have led the art/craft movement in recent years!