Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mid-Week Masters: Paul Stankard

Another incredible show now on view at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma called Beauty Beyond Nature, featuring work by Paul Stankard. While Glimmering Gone envelopes you in an environment of ice and glass, Paul Stankard's work sucks you into a tiny world of intricate and infinitesimal detail. Stakard has taken the mundane (and, let's just admit it, schlocky) glass paperweight and created incredible miniature worlds that feel as if they are their own self-supporting ecosystems. Stankard began his career in glass by blowing glass beakers and such for scientific labs which, I assume is where he developed his perfectionism and eye for detail. Like with Glimmering Gone, the photos here don't do the work justice and if you have the chance to see it in person I highly recommend it.

All photos from Paul Stankard's website. Photography was not allowed in the museum.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Have you seen this short film written and directed by former Pixar animator Rodrigo Blass? It's kind of gone viral lately and even though it was released in 2009 I didn't see it until recently. Rumor has it it's soon to be made into a feature length film. It used to be when a brilliant short film was made only the privileged few at film festivals got to see them, but lucky for us the internet has changed that. 

The film has the familiar whimsy of a Pixar movie, but is a little more likely to give you nightmares. Fair warning. 

PS: If you look closely at the dolls on the couch you might notice a nod to Diane Arbus

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mid-Week Masters

If you're any where around Tacoma, I highly recommend Glimmering Gone at the Museum of Glass. When I walked into the gallery with Landscape in it I literally gasped and said "oh my god" out loud which was kind of embarrassing because the only other person in the gallery at that point was the security guard. This collaboration between Beth Lipman and Ingalena Klenall is a combination of fused and blown glass hung to form an icy, glittering landscape. Fragmented trees stretch up towards the ceiling and mirrored shards suggest a mountain stream. Truly one of the most beautiful works of art I've seen in a long time. The photos don't do it justice.

The photos above are from Beth Lipman's website. Photography wasn't allowed in the museum.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Playing Elusive

30 years ago, the mountain hiding in all this mist exploded causing the earth to shudder, massive landslides, the midday sky to go dark, and ash to touch ground as far west as North Dakota. They predicted it would take decades for the landscape to recover, that the slopes would be as barren as the surface of the moon for 30 years or more. With a little help from scientists and Weyerhaeuser in her recovery, the slopes of Mount St Helens have bloomed back to life and are far from barren today. New ecosystems have formed in lakes formed by landslides. An awareness, and even awe, of the power under your feet can be felt.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buy Handmade

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Pratt Holiday art sale, an annual collections of talented artists and craftsmen selling their work. This year for holiday shopping I'm trying to avoid big box stores and support local businesses and artists. The sale at Pratt was only two days long, but you can still take a look at their websites and shops if you're still looking for the perfect something for someone. Here's a small collection of artists from the sale that caught my eye.

Gorgeous, feminine jewelry that has the tiniest bit of whimsy too.

I really loved these retro inspired glass works

The team of a glass blowing boy and a metals girl. I particularly liked the drop pendants.

Lovely structured and minimalist jewelry

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pages of Eden

While my bibliophile soul mourns the loss of any bookstore, I was thrilled to get this book for only $6 due to the demise of Borders.

Garden of Eden is filled with the gorgeous botanical illustrations of several artists/scientists. I wish botanical illustrator was still a viable career choice. I can imagine myself trekking through jungles and plains with my sketchbook and watercolors, scouring the area for all kinds of interesting flora. Don't tell anyone this, but for a while in high school I dreamed of becoming a botanist. I was inspired by the work of Margaret Lowman, an amazing rainforest canopy biologist. Tragically, now I barely have enough time to devote to keeping my potted houseplants alive.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Infringing Forest

Recently I had the opportunity to do an art installation in an empty store front in downtown Tacoma. If you're not from this area, you might not know that Tacoma and Seattle have a little rivalry going. Seattlites think we have the market cornered on all things urbane and cultural, while Tacoma is a simple industrial city. To put it bluntly, Seattlites can be big snobs sometimes. Some of that elitism must have worn off on me a little because I have to say I was surprised (pleasantly) by the amount of support the arts receive in Tacoma. Every time I turned a corner downtown, there was more public art to see. It was great to spend some time down there and wander around downtown and rediscover a great city.

As for the installation itself, the experience was a good one, but also stressful. Stressful because I had to squeeze it in on the weekend after working all week at my new and somewhat overwhelming job. I have to say the experience made me want to work even harder for the days when I will be able to support myself solely through my art, until then there will be a lot of squeezing things in on the weekend. When I arrived at the space, I was temporarily taken aback by how raw it was. I'm not totally sure what the space was in its past life because pretty much everything was stripped away. It was dark and dusty and I had no idea how I was going to hang my trees from ceilings that were at least 20 feet high. Even the wallboard was ripped off the walls, exposing solid concrete, which made drilling into them impossible. At that moment I was so grateful that I had a parent with me who morally supports this craziness. My mom and I were able to find a solution, but building that solution took an entire day itself. After that first day I was beset by a streak of annoying inconveniences that taken by themselves wouldn't be too bad, but altogether they set me back quite a bit. Ran out of this, couldn't find the right that, that sort of stuff. But, as you can see from the pictures, I managed to finish it and I learned so much from the experience.

The piece is entitled "Infringing Forest" and is about 11 feet high and 15 feet wide. The trees are acetone image transfers on rice paper. The figures on the ground are a person, a raven, a bear, and a chipmunk, made from clay. The sun is made from fallen leaves. If you happen to be around Tacoma and want to see my installation or are interested in seeing the other great work that is a part of Spaceworks Tacoma, comment or send me an email and I'll give the address.

Friday, November 25, 2011


An ordered environment sits in the middle of a wilderness. 
Our streets are straight and systematic, our buildings sturdy and strong, 
but even while we walk down those streets and work and live in those strong
buildings, a wilderness surrounds us and waits for us.
I hope you pause while you’re walking down the street, in between the buildings, 
and think about that wilderness just out of sight.

From a project I recently finished. More tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Handmade Challenge: Day 130ish

cowl: made by me
earrings: by Moorea
jacket: Miss Sixty

These photos have been sitting on my computer since it was still a little to warm to be wearing this cowl and I'm just now getting around to posting. As you may have noticed form the general lack of posting, the handmade challenge hit a little hiccup lately. With a new job, I've been so exhausted most days, that sewing became an unfortunately low priority (higher priorities being eating, sleeping, and frustrated crying). And I'll also admit that a couple new shirts, a coat, a dress, and a new bag (which was actually kind of needed) found their way into my closet. Frustration and questions about what direction your life is taking has a way of breaking your will just the tiniest bit. But, I'm glad that I have a job at all so I'll stop complaining and move on to lighter subjects like clothes.

I saw a lot of big bulky knit cowls last year and every time I saw one I thought about how easy it would be to make one, but like a lot of the things I say I'm going to make, I never actually got around to doing it.

This yarn was an impulse buy that has been hanging around for a while mocking me. I didn't buy enough at the time to make a sweater, or even a shrug, but it is so soft and a gorgeous deep turquoise that every once in a while I would take it out and just stroke it, like a Bond villain, and whisper "one day" to it. Finally I decided on designing a simple cowl in an offset rib knit that kind of ends of looking like waves and might even pass for a lazy cable if you don't look too closely.

The earrings are very exciting because they are made by the wonderful Moorea. They are so unique that I fell in love with them the first time I saw them in her Etsy store, and my love has only grown. I'm usually not a dangly earring person, but these are the perfect combination of earthy and glam.

Woefully Neglected

A head full of stress and a body exhausted. A new job brought with it questions of where my life is going and where I want it to be going. Mundane crises and existential questions. All is still open ended, but it is clear that creating and creativity must remain in my life.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A hangar full of stories

Last weekend I went to the library's twice yearly gigantic book sale. An old naval hanger is set up with rows and rows of books that go for $2 for hardbacks and $1 for paperbacks. It's a bibliophile's giddy day dream. I picked up a couple of books I've been meaning to read and found a couple of vintage treasures, including a fictionalized account of the Bronte's childhood and a story of the attempted rescue of Marie Antoinette.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Always my favorite anyway

On the hottest day of the year, when simply standing in the sun directly causes vision to blur and knees to go wobbly and an unhappy stomach to threaten your dignity. The rides are sparkly and bright and inside a prepubescent voice is pushing you to go, but your adult ears hear the creaks and squawks the ride makes as it reaches its upside down apex and you shade your eyes with your hand and look up through the glare of the sun and your oh-so-grown-up mind wonders how many times these things have been put together and taken apart and wouldn't that cause some sort of stress on the parts over time, and who exactly puts them together, and what is the governing body that regulates safety around here? And you decide to go look at the cows because that was always your favorite anyway.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Added to my Christmas list

Yesterday, Design Sponge brought these gorgeous editions of the works of the Romantic poets to my attention. I'm a sucker for the Romantics, particularly Keats and Coleridge. Their lives were as beautiful and as crazy as their words. They were lovers and cheaters and criminals and addicts and philosophers and revolutionaries. Think free love was invented by the hippies in the 60s? Think again. Although, their revolutionary ideas about life and love always seemed to me to benefit the men more than the women. Free love is a great idea until it results in another tiny mouth that needs feeding. That's probably why monogamy is still the traditional way to go.

These editions are published by Faber

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Handmade Challenge: Day 88

dress: from a reprint of a 1940s Vogue pattern
shoes: GAP (who knew GAP had good shoes?)
socks: Madewell

The challenge is about half done and I have to say it has been surprisingly easy. I expected the temptation to be unbearable and that I would crack at least once, but I haven't at all. In fact, it's kind of been a relief. In the past, every time I bought something new I would feel obligated to wear it or I would end up feeling guilty (first world problems, I know) and that led me to ignore a lot of the things already in my closet. Now, I've been wearing things that have been neglected and I've realized what an emotional crutch shopping was for me.

The Handmade Challenge is also a bonding experience for my mom and me. She brought me up in a creative environment where troubles could be banished by building something with your hands. Sewing, among many other forms of creativity, has been a staple activity in our home for my entire life. She has also contributed a lot to this challenge and is working on a couple of patterns I cut out ages ago but never quite got around to finishing. She's the one who actually made this dress. Thanks Mom!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Self-Conscious Vanity


All through art school and even going back to art classes in high school I lived in dread of the self portrait that would inevitably be assigned. When I say lived in dread I'm not exaggerating. It used to give me anxiety attacks. I would find any way I could to avoid looking at my own face for extended periods of time. I don't really want to think about what that means for my psychological health, but a couple of years ago I decided that it was ridiculous for an artist to be terrified of self portraits and I started to put myself in front of the camera. Having this blog and taking photos for my handmade challenge has also helped me move past my insecurities, I can look at my own face a little more objectively now, without cringing and picking out every flaw. I guess it's also part of growing up, learning to accept your flaws and not take yourself so seriously.



I read or heard something from I-can't-remember-what that said something along the lines of "self consciousness is just another form of selfishness" because when you are self conscious you think everyone is looking at you and cares what you're doing. When I heard that (or read it or whatever) it made me realize that in the grand scheme of things the only person who cares if I make a fool of myself is me, that other people are too busy with their own lives to worry over what I'm doing, and that self consciousness was a really stupid reason to not do something I wanted to do. So, I started to challenge myself and make myself pose for self portraits. I've become more and more comfortable with it, which isn't to say I don't still feel a little weird about it occasionally.


2011 / 2008

It's funny, when I was picking out my favorite self portraits for this post, I didn't notice until they were all up together that my face is obscured in all of them. Also, why am I always wearing that white dress?