29 July 2010

3 places to create in the city

San Francisco has so many great places for creative collaboration.  Here are just three of them:

1} It's brand new ~ the Levi's workshop opened up this month in San Francisco's Mission District.  Their website says they provide all the good things mentioned above and more, such as field trips for schools and collaborations with Bay Area groups, businesses and individuals.  Anyone can book a Sunday workshop day even though they probably fill up fast. They're located at 850 Valencia Street.  I can't wait to visit!

2} Just down the street is another fountainhead of community creativity, the writers' den at 826 Valencia, which is cleverly hidden behind the well-stocked, independent Pirate Supply Store.  Pass through the red, velvet curtains to find talented and dedicated volunteers tutoring kids after school, encouraging them to write and publish their work.  They also conduct workshops for teachers and field trips for schools (which is how I arrived there, once upon a time, bringing a group of middle school students to write a screenplay).

The pirate shop in front is an excellent place to buy beards, eye patches and barrels of lard ~ all your basic pirate needs ~ and proceeds help keep the writing center afloat.  I bought a charming T-shirt on my last visit with this witty pirate-ism:



{People are frightened by my message every time I wear it, and I suspect that they suspect that I might be a real pirate.  Sometimes they are impressed that I have been somewhere as hip as 826, but either way, they view me with renewed respect and surreptitiously glance at my hand to see if it's a gleaming hook.}

3} Finally, in a quick return to the main subject of this post, we cannot forget the San Francisco Center for the BookWorkshops and lessons in antique letterpress printing, calligraphy, book binding, book altering, rubber stamping, embossing, and so much more ~ it's a place close to heaven for creative souls.  They also offer machine rental and have two-hour long field trip workshops for kids.  Personally, I'm interested in the Letterpress classes (amongst other things).

Someone I know just happens to be having an event there tonight as well.  The SFCB has an Imprint department and invited print artist Mike Wertz to create a small, limited edition letter press book.  It's titled Dog Dreams and you can meet Mike and pick up a copy at the release tonight.  You can even bring your (well-behaved) dog along with you!  But if you can't make it, then I definitely recommend looking through his portfolio for all its colorful, graphic goodness.

And if the reason you won't attend is that you're a staunch cat person, then may I recommend another Wertz-illustrated book:  A Curious Collection of Cats.  Betsy Franco's poems explore the many attitudes, triumphs and peculiarities of felines and are perfectly illustrated by Mike Wertz so that each becomes a concrete poem as well.  When I saw this one, I had to go to the book-signing, I had to have my own copy ~ and I'm not even a cat person (being quite partial to bunnies myself).  It's really that good.

28 July 2010

inspiration ~ {bookshelf porn}

I like books. My library is spread between a small flat in Italy and our little house here in the Bay Area, and even if I combined the two, I wouldn't have 4,000 books. But if I did, and if I didn't want to read them (not likely!) I would love to do this with them.

Installation of 4,000 books by Anouk Kruithof

Images from Bookshelf Porn

27 July 2010

renegade craft fair

This would be so great to attend!  So many good reasons.

First of all, it's FREE!  Who doesn't like that?  Then there are craft workshops, tons of indie-craft exhibitors, live music and food ~ all at the lovely Fort Mason.

I've already got a busy weekend but ... somehow...

*crosses fingers* !!

Update:  I was not able to make it, but some other bloggers attended.  One of my favorite summaries of the event was posted by Cathe Holden from Just Something I Made.  Her blog is full of craft inspiration, clever ways to fix up "junk" and generous design downloads.  Check it out!

26 July 2010

art resolution

There have been times in my life when my job was art.  For a time, I worked with wood, vinyl, metal and concrete on practical artistic jobs involving building renovations.  Later I designed the "look" of race cars and go-karts, logos and race apparel in Italy.  Occasionally, I was hired to make illustrations for small publications. 

These days I work at my sons' K-8 school and enjoy some artistic aspects to my job ~ graphic design, social media, student performances and events ~ all pretty fun, creative/interactive duties.  But lately, I have the need for more personal creation.  I'm daydreaming about paint and perspective, browsing art magazines and carrying a sketchbook around.

I'm under no special illusions that what I create is going to be grand or important.  In fact, I am more enamored with the idea of small sketches and quick impressions.  I'm finding little ways to fit art here and there into my day.

sketch before eating!  :)

So, I thought to make an art resolution:
  • work on some kind of art each day
  • participate in artistic projects that challenge me
  • talk to other artists and get inspired by their work
  • hopefully inspire them, too
Please join me!

xo kimi

24 July 2010

urban sketch ~ {serra park}

This afternoon I took my youngest to a birthday party at Serra Park in Sunnyvale. At first I did what I always do at parties - eat, talk and take bunches of photos!  But later in the afternoon, the kids moved on to play in the water feature and there I was able to settle down on a bench with a Sharpie and a notepad to sketch the scene.

The water play area of the park consists of unusual, diagonal-cut, concrete structures and thick, blue poles of varying heights that shoot out streams of water in different directions.  It isn't extremely attractive, but it is clean and was interesting to draw.  Towards the end, the kids realized I was sketching them and enjoyed finding themselves on the page.

I took the idea of urban sketching from the pros over at Urban Sketchers.  Their site has a huge list of contributing artists who are all very talented.  I'm now thinking that I should always carry a sketchbook with me.  The tiny, spiral-bound sketchpad I used today was convenient and just discreet enough to not attract the attention of my models as I sketched them playing in the water.

I think I'll try it more often.

23 July 2010

the sketchbook project

Last night I came across THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT:

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

Feeling unusually uninhibited, I signed up then and there.  Perhaps it seemed like an easier way to tell a story than Nanowrimo.  Perhaps it appealed to my vanity, that I would produce a touring sketchbook for public consumption.  For the most part, I simply like Moleskin notebooks and the project seemed like fun.

From a generous list, I chose as my topic:  Lights in the Distance.  Why?  That is a good question as I may be regretting that choice already.  At the time, it seemed to be a fairly specific yet simultaneously vague theme, and a topic that would definitely be a challenge to sketch since distant lights require a good deal of darkness. 

All the cute brown wrapping paper covers were gone, so my notebook will be blue; but maybe I'll just cover that all up with rice paper watercolor collage or something else anyway.  I am looking forward to its arrival so that I may commence my imaginative theories about those distant lights and then (ulp!) try to draw them.

Once I get started, I will chronicle my Sketchbook Project here so I can share it with you.

22 July 2010

character sketch

Some friends are participating in Nanowrimo this year and invited me to join them.  Since then, little ideas have darted around, flitting through the back of my mind as I go through my day.  I am intrigued by the challenge, though I'm not a novelist by any means!   I've had different ideas for characters or scenes, but nothing that holds together.  So I thought an artistic approach might help.

I took out my old sketchbook that still had some blank pages in it.  Using watercolors, I thought I might try to sketch out a character for this potential novella.  I started with the eyes and watched to see who would emerge from the page.  After a little while, this is who arrived:

I think it should be nice to paint numerous characters.  Having never attempted a novel-in-a-month before (or at all), this may be a gentle way to approach the idea of owning make-believe people and their lives, so as to construct an interesting way of telling others what happens to them.