23 February 2012

industrial arts inspiration ~ {the crucible}

I took a little drive up to Oakland for an afternoon of industrial arts demonstrations by numerous artisans who've no fear of fire. The Crucible is the kind of place that takes all your latent superhero fantasies of bending glass and twisting metal with your bare hands and makes them... reality! Wow.

We all left with visions of welding enormous metal sculptures, blowing glass bubbles and hammering out swords. Here are a few photos from this amazing, non-profit, educational facility. Once you've learned a trade, you can buy studio hours, go in and make to your heart's content.

He rolled the hot glass in the blue powder on the table for color.

I think the hot glass is so pretty!

(Eventually, he made a pitcher.)

Demonstration on bending glass tubes for neon signs.

He blows air through the tube during the bend so the passage stays open.

This guy was so cool. He gave me two linked heart-shaped tubes "to give to your sweetheart".

Everyone loved the blacksmith.

Twisting metal to make a very strong & handy hook.

You need a hood, protective clothing & eyewear to guard against the sparks & UV rays.

But then you can meld metal together into statues.

Yeah, I'm fired up! :D

Another way to bend steel.

This method feels a little spectacular. :)

Not trash ~ supply bins!

Melted aluminum being poured into ingots.

Hot stuff.

Art everywhere.

Right next to a BART exit so anyone can get there!

12 February 2012


Did you know that I'm taking a couple graphic design classes these days? It's true. I was recently given an assignment to make faces using only typefaces. Hm! Hadn't thought of doing that before.

Some of my classmates are extremely talented at doing this! As for me, it's not quite my forte', but it was fun!

Here is a flutist. (I meant for the hat to read "marching band" which didn't fully work out)...

A boy surprised by gas... "whoops!"

And lastly, a valentine ~ featuring a couple from perhaps 100 years ago (or more). We weren't supposed to use color, but what's a valentine without a bit of red and pink?


Perhaps some of you have done other interesting things with type? If so, I'd love to know about them! This is a new area for me. ^_^

10 February 2012

in progress...

Quick snapshot for you of a new acrylic painting I started last night. These days it feels like spring is here already and I'm looking forward to seeing bright colors again and the promise of fresh beginnings.

There's more to go on this one, but I was happy with this painting's start. ^_^

08 February 2012

octopi journals

I talked to Joy @limbic_lullaby last week about the handmade journals she was creating with hand-carved stamps and she offered to mail me a set for me and my two boys! They arrived so quickly in the mail and we adore them. I love the way she carved a voice bubble to fill in for the octopus and the name plate space inside.

I love Joy's paintings, as well, which you can see on her blog Limbic Lullaby and which you can even buy on her Society 6 page! She's been making some fun carvings and stamps ~ like these here on this blog post. I love the evocative portraits she paints ~ ethereal girls with haunted looks, children with visible skulls, bold colors and patterns. Do check out her beautiful work.

Thank you, Joy, for these truly lovely journals! I'm working on some mail art to send back to her, as well as to Jeannine, Juriko and Jessica. Four of my awesome J-friends!

01 February 2012

sketchbook project 2012

This was my second year participating in the Arthouse Sketchbook Project and I had such a good time! I was really pleased with my book this year and I'm sure part of that is because I learned a great deal last year of what works for me and what not to do. Since I like to use a lot of watercolor, rebinding my book with a lot of my own paper was an essential change. I used the original paper for the cut-out pages where it worked very well, and I was able to wet the pages to my heart's content by using heavier stock on the full-color pages.

My theme was Uncharted Waters ~ chosen because it made me think of exploration, seeking, learning and finding new worlds. Exciting! I thought about Columbus at first, but didn't really feel like drawing his old-fashioned boat. With just a little research, I discovered the Arctic and Antarctic explorers of the late 1800's and grew very attached to them. I decided to focus on the Arctic for my book since it seemed like more people got lost at the South Pole (admittedly, a bit depressing).

My book was not historically factual ~ I don't think they did much diving in the freezing waters up north and I don't know if super-enormous octopi or squid reside in the deep seas ~ but I did model my boat after the Norwegian exploration ship the Fram and I did paint many adorable arctic sea creatures.

beluga whales <3

Now I have dual themes in my two books of underwater scenes, white animals and a reality-fantasy mix (although my 2011 book was heavier on the fantastical). Using my own paper made this year's book much more cohesive as I wasn't alternating storyline with diary-type drawings in pencil to cope with ink bleed. However, I do love both books and I can't wait to check out many, many sketchbooks from friends around the world when the Sketchbook Tour comes to San Francisco.

I'll soon post scans of my full book on Flickr, but in the meantime I leave you with a video page-through of Uncharted Waters so you can see how the cut-out pages worked and following that, a list of some wonderful artists who made sketchbooks this year.

Looking forward to seeing these books in person and holding them in my very own hands. Leave me a comment if I've left you off the list, please! (It's quite late at night so I may have forgotten important people!) Click on their names below to go to their sketchbook or their twitter.

And I don't think she made a sketchbook but Ti-Igra painted a gorgeous image of Antarctica and Roald Amundsen's trip to the South Pole. I mention it here because the ship Roald used for the Antarctic was also the Fram! He used it some years after Fridtjof Nansen sailed it in the Arctic waters, trying to reach the North Pole.