25 April 2011

clay bunnies

Mama Bunny

 Yesterday we had lunch and a nice family afternoon at my mom's house. The last time we visited she was working in her pottery studio and helped my son and I make clay bunnies for our garden. Today we saw that they had gone through their first firing and are turning out to be pretty cute!

After the first firing, we have the choice of using acrylic paint on them (like I did with this chicken) or glazing them and putting them through a second firing in the kiln. Since the bunnies were originally my son's idea I let him decide and he picked glaze. So we're going to glaze them white, which means we have to wait a little bit longer to take them home ~ probably in a couple of weeks.

There are three bunnies and the mama is hollow so the babies can hide under her like this.

I think they'll be very charming when they're fully finished. Don't you?

Update: We visited my mum today and picked up the clay bunnies. Here's how they turned out!

23 April 2011

earth day prints

Today I volunteered at the San Francisco Center for the Book's Earth Day celebration. It was a cozy, low-key event with lots of free activities to introduce people to printing, book-binding, collage, etc. I thought the fair was going to be outside, like Roadworks, so I panicked a little when I got there and didn't see the street closed off. But when I got to the front of the building, a sign reassured me I was there on the right day: Free Squid Printing on Saturday!

Some cute letter pressed bookmarks were made for Earth Day and free to attendees.

Inside, I checked out the other booths before starting to work at mine (veggie printing). I went to see the main attraction first and found two large squid sitting quietly on the tables. One looked at me with a reproachful eye and seemed as though it might be alive ~ although at the same time it appeared too eerily calm for that to be true.

A volunteer was rolling ink all over the other squid. I felt a bit sorry to see them like that, but someone explained that the squid are donated to an educational science group by fishermen who accidentally catch them in their nets. The squid are frozen and then donated to schools for educational purposes or community groups like SFCB for making prints. I felt slightly better knowing that they hadn't been killed just for us. Now they would transcend death to become works of art... still, it was hard to escape their mournful eyes. I've printed with tiny squid before and didn't feel too bad or squeamish, but these large ones seemed to have a lot of personality. They did make grand prints, though:

Immortalized in ink.

Next I visited a postcard station where I ran a letterpress fish print, then drew on it some more and added collage to make a fine little card for Senator Feinstein to thank her for her earth-friendly actions and votes. Hope she likes it.

SFCB provided the stamp, address and everything ~ thanks!

Then it was time to report to my veggie-print-a-greeting-card station. It was pretty busy the whole day. We had potatoes, yams, carrots and onions for printing and used Speedball washable ink. Here's one made with potatoes and onions:

The dolphin shape is achieved by using a cookie cutter to cut the potato.

My favorite vegetable for printing turned out to be the onion because of its versatility and delicate effect. The concentric circles can be taken apart or stamped together and the texture of each ring can show through if the ink is not applied too thickly.

I had a great time at my booth and met lots of creative people.

At the end of the day I managed to bind a mini-booklet at another booth and had a brief opportunity to admire the items for sale by Maiden Hand and Gold Rush Press. I've come home with lots of printed goodies that I'm planning to start including in some of my mail art packages so I can share the bounty!

21 April 2011

art for japan

Everywhere I turn there are people doing something to help the people of Japan and it's very uplifting.

Here in the Bay Area, artists are donating their work to Bay Area Artists for Japan and there will be an art show with 100% of proceeds going to Red Cross Japan! This is possible in part because Mina Dresden has donated gallery space for the event at the Dresden Gallery.

I may have responded too late to be able to donate a piece of artwork, but I've sent them an email and hopefully I can contribute something to help the effort. Crossing my fingers...

I would love to attend this event and support Japan through the arts. If you're in San Francisco, try to make it!

15 April 2011

Taking Flight

1,000 cranes flew in to the school garden this morning! Now they have taken flight (via the US Post Office) to Students Rebuild where they'll become part of a huge art installation with 300,000 other cranes from around the world. The art will also magically turn into $200,000 for Architecture for Humanity to rebuild Japan, thanks to the Bezos Family Foundation!

Due to the outpouring of support, more than 1,000 cranes were delivered to my desk and I expect more will arrive on Monday. All of the "extra" cranes will be taken to Osh Kosh B'Gosh where each one will become an article of children's clothing sent to Japan.

A big thank you to all the children that helped surpass our goal of 1,000 cranes! We hope that our wish will come true for Japan to heal quickly with lots of help from people all over the world.

07 April 2011

1000 Birds

We have over 300 cranes folded so far. About 700 to go!

 I taught the students to make origami cranes yesterday and they have been folding away with such sweet dedication. A little girl about 11 years old came to get a bunch of origami paper from me since she is leaving on a short vacation and wants to fold while she's away. Another little boy who is only 6 shows up morning and afternoon to drop off a few more rough little cranes he's designed from scratch paper in his classroom. There is a steady stream every lunch and break time of colorful cranes landing on my desk.

We are trying to fold 1,000 paper cranes to send to Students Rebuild because each crane received will result in $2.00 donated to Japan rebuilding. The most exciting part is that they have just announced a deadline, so we are going to be racing to fold 1,000! The kids are very cute, excitedly spreading the word to each other and making plans on how we're going to make the goal. We have to complete 1,000 sooner than we thought!

* ** *** ** *

I have recently been following a generous and talented ceramicist on twitter, Makiko Hastings, who is making 1,000 birds for Japan. These ceramic birds she is selling are so cute and can be used as chopstick rests, too!

Japan had another 7.4 earthquake today and there is another tsunami warning.

Every little bird helps! Please help Japan.

03 April 2011

colors of spring

Outside my window everything is growing. Grape vines are climbing, wisteria are blooming, trees are sprouting tiny bright-green leaves and of course, there are weeds poking up that have to be plucked. Color is popping up everywhere and I long for a vacation week to sit around painting and making art from all this inspiration.

This past week was a bit rough with lots of work and overtime and deadlines. Not that it wasn't fun ~ it culminated in a very charming day of art and culture at the school where I work ~ but my own creative energy was a bit drained by the time I got home. I just wanted to go to bed!

As a result, I don't have anything new to share with you this weekend. *sigh* But I found these watercolor flowers from the archives that I thought to share with you. They reflect the colors of spring that I'm starting to see around me.

Hope you're enjoying a good weekend and that the new week brings more time for art and dreaming.

Oh ~ one more thing! A twitter friend @jojoebi in Japan is holding a bracelet/necklace raffle on her blog that is open to anyone that donates to Japan Relief. The raffle ends tomorrow, so please visit her site and enter today!

Happy Weekend!