Archive for July, 2008

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library. – Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

I have the foundation of cardstock prepared for my inchies. I simply glued two pieces of cardstock together, and stamped the back, which is a light blue, with this really cool rubber stamp that I have. I also cut out the background papers, and chose and sized a bunch of vintage photos to consider.

I’m also making a card for my grandmother’s birthday. I’ll post a picture when it’s done.

Saturday night I continued work on my quilt. Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting time working on it, because it’s not furthering my jewelry and collage work. But I reminded myself that by making the quilt, I’m improving my sewing skills and learning how to work with fabric. Plus, I really do enjoy it.

So I worked on that and started watching Marie Antoinette – the old movie with Norma Shearer. I’d never seen it before and a couple weeks ago I saw it was on and recorded it. I first became interested in Marie Antoinette after reading Marie Antoinette – The Journey, by Antonia Fraser. I immediately fell in love with Marie Antoinette and felt an emotional connection to her – I find her fascinating, and her story is compelling and tragic. I definitely want to make a book for her someday – but first I want to read the book again so that everything is fresh in my mind. Maybe in a year or two.

Anyway, the movie is pretty good. I haven’t finished watching it yet, but I think I’m almost done. Of course they changed a bunch of things and I feel have slightly misrepresented her, but if you take it for what it is – a 1930s Hollywood costume drama – it’s enjoyable. And the costumes are gorgeous, and I love Norma Shearer too.

I finally finished reading Elizabeth & Mary – Cousins, Rivals, Queens, by Jane Dunn. Another fabulous book about two amazing, each in their own way, women. I absolutely loved this book. And it only took me almost a year to read it. I believe I started it last year when we were in Ocean City, Maryland, over Labor Day weekend. I love to read and I always have, but I have hardly any time for it these days. Mostly I read right before I go to bed, so there are many times when I can only manage to read a paragraph or two before I’m falling asleep. But books have always been an important part of my life, so I persevere, and if it takes me a year to read a book, I’m still better off for having read it.

So now I’ve started Ariel – The Restored Manuscript, by Sylvia Plath, and put together by her daughter Frieda Hughes. I bought this several years ago but had not gotten around to reading it. I’ve read some of the poems in the Ariel that was originally published. I’m excited to read the original manuscript as Sylvia had intended it to be. The foreword, written by Frieda Hughes, is very illuminating, moving, and filled with love for both of her parents.

That’s it for now. A lot of books in this post – they are one of my most treasured possessions.

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Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter-productivity. – Erma Bombeck

I’m very excited to announce that I’m participating in my first art swap! We are making “inchies” – an inchie is a mixed media or collage piece that measures only one inch square. I saw the swap on Artella yesterday, just in time to make the deadline for signing up.

I’ve never made inchies before, but I have heard of them. They are a relatively new art form, if you want to call it that. Of course I already know exactly how I’m going to make mine. I’ll be using cardstock as my base, and my design elements will be some pretty scrapbook paper, vintage photos, computer-printed text, and I wouldn’t dream of not throwing in some glitter glue and crystals. Can I fit all that in one inch? I’m pretty sure I can!

Each participant is to make four inchies. The hostess gets to keep one from each participant, and then she will mail out the rest, so I will three inchies that other artists made. I’m going to make five though, so I can keep one for myself.

This is in keeping with my goals for this year, one of which was to become more involved in the art community and meet other artists.

I can’t wait to get started!

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A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity. – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve been continuing my work on my freeform peyote stitch cuff. Here is a new photo:

Freeform Peyote Stitch Cuff

I started working in the large Czech fire-polished beads. I’m very pleased with it so far, although there are a few areas I’m not entirely thrilled with. I had mentioned before that I was going to keep working on it through July and then put it aside to work on my Irina project, but I have more than half of it done already, so I think I will keep working on it until it’s finished. I didn’t think I would get this far so quickly.

I do love working in freeform peyote stitch. It’s fun and challenging to make it up as I go along. It does involve a leap of faith, however, in hoping that the piece turns out well, since I never know what the finished piece is going to look like until it’s, well, finished.

There are always areas of the work that I’m not entirely happy with, but I’ve learned not to judge the piece until it’s done. As the beadwork progresses it changes my perspective, and a section that I didn’t like much may turn out to be quite nice. Of course if you don’t like the piece when it’s done that’s unfortunate, but luckily that’s never happened to me.

I started reading the first issue of Sew Somerset, and of course I’ve already got ideas popping up. One is a bracelet made from individual small rectangles of fabric, each with a fabric transfer of a vintage photo, and embellished with beads, sequins and ribbons. The rectangles are then sewn together with beads in between. That idea was inspired by a similar bracelet by Yvonne Montano. Her bracelet is simple and rustic, while mine will have a more finished look, with printed fabrics and lots of embellishment.

The other idea is for a fabric book. This idea started when I was watching The Universe on the Discovery Channel (I think it was Discovery. I could be wrong though). I love anything – tv shows, books, photos – that has to do with the universe. I am fascinated by the universe and all it contains, and if I was any good at physics I would have become an astronomer.

Anyway, I recently started jotting down words and phrases that I find interesting or intriguing, with the thought of using them in my artwork. I wrote down a lot of stuff while watching The Universe, and one phrase was Ladies Astronomical Society. Now this I partially made up, basing it on my love of the cosmos and Rasputina’s alter ego, the Ladies Cello Society. I didn’t give it much further thought until I got to the fabric book chapter in Sew Somerset. Then it clicked, and I thought how cool it would be to make a fabric book about a fictitious Ladies Astronomical Society. I haven’t worked out all the details yet, or any details for that matter, other than the name and some vague ideas about using vintage photos and star maps.

That’s it for now. I’m trying to get to bed early tonight. That means 11 instead of 11:15.

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If you hear a voice telling you that you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. – Vincent Van Gogh

Since Lily was born I have felt both driven and unfocused when it comes to my creative endeavors.

Driven because I have so little time in which to accomplish all of the projects I want to make and all of the techniques I want to learn. I keep lists, which I am constantly reviewing – lists of projects I am currently working on, projects I would like to do, techniques I want to try, and supplies I need to buy. I am very organized in that respect, and determined to make things happen for myself.

But then I also feel incredibly unfocused. I have all of these projects I want to make and all of these techniques I want to try, and tons of ideas swirling around in my head. I have numerous projects I’ve already started that need to be finished. I’m eager to start my new projects, but I really want to finish the old ones first. I feel that I’m not getting anywhere with my work. I feel like I’m always playing catch-up, and that nothing is in my control.

And again that comes down to a lack of time. I feel very frustrated lately. Maybe I should just stop complaining and be thankful I have any time at all for my creative expression. I’m just impatient. I tell myself that it won’t be like this forever, but that is small consolation sometimes.

So anyway Marc began taking down the wood paneling in the living room. It’s amazing how much lighter and airier it is now. That wood paneling was just sucking all of the light in. Underneath is several layers of paint and wallpaper. I think the wallpaper is probably pretty old; it has an old-fashioned pattern. I took some pictures because I thought it looked neat, and I have an idea to play with the pictures in Photoshop to make cool background papers for collage. Here are a couple of the pictures, untouched:

Post-wood paneling.

Post-wood paneling.

I love the way you can see the different layers, and the chipped and torn edges.

I’ve been so exhausted lately – this is all I can manage to write for now. Good night!

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There is time for work. And time for love. There is no other time. – Coco Chanel

Last Friday and Saturday I dedicated time to work on my freeform peyote cuff. I even sacrificed working on my green carnelian project on Saturday, although that was more because I wanted to be able to sit in the living room with Marc and catch up on some of our favorite tv shows.

I’ve gotten quite a bit done in the past couple weeks. Here’s a photo:

Freeform Peyote Cuff

It’s a little dark in this photo. I have about 1 & 3/4 inches done so far. I probably will focus on it for the rest of July, and then switch to another project, most likely my irina bracelet. It is one of my goals this year to work out the design for irina and write at least a rough draft of the instructions, with the ultimate goal of submitting it to a magazine.

One unexpected consequence of visiting Longwood Gardens was some ideas for a new name for my website/business. I’m tired of sushimama – I don’t feel that it is an accurate reflection anymore, it’s old, people don’t know what it is, and my work is going in new directions and I want a new name that encompasses jewelry and mixed media/collage. I have some ideas but nothing definite yet. I better hurry though, because my current domain name expires in October!

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You don’t have a garden just for yourself. You have it to share. – Aesop

Here are some pictures from our trip to Longwood Gardens. Lily especially loved splashing in the fountains.

Bell Tower at Longwood Gardens, June 2008.

Ancient wall, Longwood Gardens, June 2008

Italian Water Garden.

Water plant, Longwood Gardens, June 2008

Water flower, Longwood Gardens, June 2008

Lily playing in the fountain.

>Lily playing in the fountain.

Lily playing in the fountain.

Lily playing in the fountain.

Lily playing in the fountain.

Lily playing in the fountains.

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