Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fremont Market tomorrow

I just wanted to put up a quick note to say that my mom is going to be at the Fremont Market tomorrow here in Seattle. She makes really cute baby quilts and clothes. I'll be helping her, so stop by and say hey if you want!

The quilt in the picture above will be one of the ones for sale. Click the picture to go to her flickr stream where she posts photos of some of her quilts.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mount Baker

 After a winter that wouldn't leave, spring is being very kind to Washington. We've had three weekends in a row that were gorgeous and sunny which I have spent wandering around this beautiful state as far as the gas budget would allow. Last weekend my mom and I drove to Mt Baker where the snow on the side of the road is still piled higher than your head. The air was so crystal clear that you could make out the crags on the mountain peaks and even see the cool blue of the edge of glaciers. We hadn't really planed on driving to the top of a mountain that day, and we didn't have any hiking gear, so our exploration was limited to side of the road look out points and a ski lodge parking lot. Even still the views were incredible. Sometimes, as you drove past a bend in the road a new mountain vista would emerge and the sheer size and clarity of what you were seeing made the whole thing so incredible it didn't seem real.

more after the jump

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer wardrobe inspiration

::Sophie Vlaming photographed by Pasquale Abbattista for Elle Germany April 2012::

What I'll be wearing all summer long. Right after that trust fund finally matures or after I marry the prince of a small, but wealthy European nation.

images via

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DIY: Flock your Chotsky

Did anybody else have a flocked family of tiny animal toys when they where little? I think mine was a family of grey mice. I carried them around in my pockets and built houses for them out of scrap cardboard and toothpicks (early DIY!). I'm sure they still exist in toy stores somewhere in an over-marketed version of their former selves (but that's a debate for another time and another blog). I carried mine around so much that the fuzzy flocking wore off and my little family of mice ended up looking quite mangy with big, shiny bald patches.

Anyway, I guess that story is some kind of introduction to this DIY where I will show you how to flock an old chotsky you might have hanging around on a shelf.  

My chotsky is a little bust of a composer I got in the fourth grade for being in the school band. I've been carrying it around for all these years because I've never quite been able to bring myself to get rid of it. I don't know why, my band career pretty much ended right there in the fourth grade.

Then, one magical day I was in a craft store and happened upon flocking powder in the scrapbooking section. I snatched it up knowing I could find a better use for it beyond the "craft" of scrapbooking. The powder sat around for months, useless, until something triggered the happy memories of my mini mouse family and their fuzzy, flocked fur and I devised a way to flock your chotskies.

You will need three things for this DIY:

some kind of little chotsky 
spray paint (I used a primer that bonds to plastic because my chotsky is plastic)
flocking powder in a color that matches your spray paint 

::Not pictured::
(I recommend wearing a respirator even if you're spraying outside. Spray paint sends little particles of toxic chemicals floating into the air that can end up in your lungs, even if you're in a well ventilated area. Remember, if you can smell it, 
then the chemicals are getting into your lungs)

First, start outside. Wearing your respirator, spray the first coat of paint. Let it dry. Follow the directions on the can for dry time.

Then spray the second coat. Here's the tricky part: while the second coat is still tacky, move it inside (you can try this part outside, but I found it was a little too breezy) and dump a whole bunch of the flocking powder on it. Completely cover the whole thing. The excess powder can be collected and re-used after so don't be shy about how much you're using.

Now let it completely dry for a few hours.

Then take a soft bristle brush and gently brush off the excess powder.

That's all there is to it. I added mine to my little collection of white objects that includes a couple of bottles I made using this tutorial, a sculpture from this, and a lamp from Ikea. I like my space to be clean and organized, but I also have a tendency to collect a lot of stuff, so creating a collection of objects that are all one color, especially a neutral color or non-color like white helps make my collections feel a little more curated and less like a bunch of junk.

Monday, April 23, 2012

And now for something completely different

Pre-crazy processing this photo was going to be a part of the last outfit post, but it took on a life of it's own and became something that's a little outside my usual style. As I'm trying to build towards accomplishing a long term goal, I have a tendency to plan everything I create in accordance with that goal, in other words everything I make has to bring me closer to that goal. This picture was an important reminder that sometimes you just need to create and see what happens. It may not fit in with your current style, you may not even like it in the end but it is still very significant and you need to pay attention to what it's saying to you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Handmade Outfit

Nothing fancy about this outfit. It's pretty much my late winter/early spring uniform. Jacket, jeans, boots, and scarf. Remember this? I had a bunch of odd leftover balls of yarn and I was in the mood to make something simple, fast, and useful, so I made a giant scarf. I nicknamed it the travel pillow scarf because if I ever need a nap on the go I can just turn my head to the side and fall asleep on my giant scarf.

I took these photos about a week ago when it seemed like winter would never release us from her cold, rainy, wet, snowy, wet, windy, cold, wet grip. But that last couple of days have been gorgeous. I guess that's the way life in the Pacific Northwest goes. Seasonal depression and vitamin D deficiency grows gradually until you start to dream of moving to SoCal or Hawaii and you've just about had your fill of soggy grey skies, when bam! Seattle hits you with a string of the most perfect, clear, sunny days imaginable. And as you look out to the crystal clear mountain ranges in the distance you can't fathom why you ever thought of leaving.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mid-week Masters: Kate MccGwire

I have a deep love for anything beautiful, yet subtly repulsive. Kate MccGwire is a master at creating works that you could look at forever, but for some reason you wouldn't really want to be in the same room with for to long. Maybe it's the sense of movement created by the pattern in the feathers, the feeling of oozing and seeping in the installations and the writhing of the stand alone sculptures. Maybe it's the material itself, the oily discarded feathers of creatures that a few years ago were feared for their disease spreading capabilities. Or it's the thought of what came before the creation of the work. What happened to all those birds who lost all those feathers?

All images from Kate MccGwire's website. Follow link for photo credits.

Monday, April 9, 2012

In Progress

Just in case you thought I forgot I'm an artist. Here's something in progress. Can you guess what it's going to be?

Saturday, April 7, 2012


A combination of kumquats and mandarin oranges. Really, really tart and sweet at the same time. 
How could you not at least try them with a name like that?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Irish Hunger Memorial

My trip to New York was filled with a lot of wandering museums and memorials independently, in other words, alone. Not terribly exciting by some standards but it was refreshing to depend only on myself and set a schedule according to my own whims. It was needed to remind myself that I can stand on my own two feet. Traveling alone is an entirely different experience than traveling with friends or family. One nice things about traveling alone is you can feel all the feelings you need to feel whenever you need to feel them (how's that for articulating emotion?), you don't have to worry about ruining the experience for the people around you or be embarrassed when you get a little emotional on the side of a fake hill. It's pretty cathartic. Try it sometime.

Said fake hill was the Irish Hunger Memorial, built in remembrance of victims of the Irish Potato Famine. It's a beautiful memorial, not the typical marble pillars and bronze statues. It's constructed like a hillside. You enter from underneath through a tunnel and emerge into the center of the ruins of an old stone cottage. The cottage is a real cottage that was shipped over from Ireland and reassembled for the memorial. A walkway leads to the top of the hill where you can look out over the river to the New Jersey skyline on the other side. Heather, clover and other flora found growing on the hills of Ireland covers this hill too. Stones with each of Ireland's county names--Kildare, Clare, Galway, etc--engraved on them line the walkway. It feels like they cut a slice out of the Irish countryside and plopped it in the middle of the financial district. It's not imposing or heavy-handed. It doesn't force you to remember the dead or the suffering, it let's you experience a little bit of what those who had to immigrate to escape the famine were forced to leave behind.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mid-week Masters: Un Chien Andalou

I cracked up when I saw this was on Netflix now. I had to watch this short so many times when I was in art school, I had to watch it almost as many times as I had to read "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", so... a lot of times. It's a silent film made by the Surrealists, including Salvador Dali (before he and the Surrealists had a mutual parting of the ways because he was a little to weird). If you've ever tried to watch Un Chien Andalou and come away with the thought "I don't get it. It doesn't make any sense" You're not alone and you have actually gotten it because it's not supposed to make any sense. It's a series of loosely related vignettes that are supposed to shock and you and make you feel uneasy, but they're not really telling a story the way traditional films do. It's not quite as shocking now as I'm sure it was in the 30s, but it is still weird.

When I was taking a video art class in art school, a friend and I made a video inspired by the Surrealists' idea of stringing together unrelated visuals. We started by taking turns writing down the first word that came to mind when you read the word before it, then we went out and filmed visual representations of the words and strung them together into what I guess you could call a film. As I remember most of the other students in the class hated it, which I thought was a victory because the Surrealists kind of wanted viewers to hate their films. My partner in making the film was less amused.

Fair warning: If you are at all squeamish there is a moment in the very beginning that involves an eyeball and a straight razor. Pretty gross.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

From India to the Bible Belt

Kim with the owl who performed alongside Sarah
Sarah after her performance

While in New York I had the privilege of seeing a project my dear friend Sarah has been working tirelessly on for months called From India to the Bible Belt. From India to the Bible Belt is a performative art event and a collection of works chronicling and expressing Sarah's experiences growing up in Kentucky and traveling through India.

Sarah and I met when we both moved to Glasgow, Scotland to study at the Glasgow School of Art. Before she went to Glasgow, Sarah consulted a psychic who told her she was going to meet a libra, so it was kind of destiny when we ended up living across the hall from each other. I just so happen to be a libra. We were pretty much instantly friends, which rarely happens to me. I am a get to know you over a looong period of time person. Though I have my dreamy moments, I have a tendency to be pessimistic bordering on cynical and I'll over-think a situation to death. What I've always admired about Sarah is her unfailing optimism and her conviction in the power and importance of art. She balances my personality out (balance is important to me, remember I'm a libra). 

It is a dangerous time to be optimistic and it's a dangerous time to take a risk, but Sarah did both recently when she set out with her friend Kim to put on this performative art event in Brooklyn. Sarah and Kim met when they where both traveling in India. They were both changed by what they saw and experienced in India and set out on a collaboration that resulted in this event and will continue to develop into new and exciting forms.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Cloisters

The whole time I was living in New York, I never made it up to the Cloisters. I guess it's because I've always considered myself more of a contemporary art person. Give me art with a meaning and a message, art that's trying to break boundaries and say something new. All my art history classes would have me believe that any art before the Renaissance was endless gilded panels featuring Jesus in various states of life and death. I remember learning specifically that Medieval art was defined by a lack of spacial depth and that the figures were usually stiff and expressionless because the clever Renaissance artists hadn't come along yet to invent perspective (of course you shouldn't follow my art history here too closely, I'm mangling it to make a point) Plus, all Medieval artist were anonymous members of craftsmen guilds, there were no romantic stories about starving artists struggling with their own genius. No alcoholics or illicit goings on, just Jesus and Mary in every form you could think of, but all blending together. I thought it was boring so I learned the dates and the styles I needed to, learned to tell apart the Annunciations and the Ascensions and then quickly forgot everything I learned after I passed the test.

Now I regret having ignored such an incredible swath of art history.

The Cloisters was opened in 1938 but was built to resemble several actual cloisters. It houses part of the Metropolitan's Medieval art collection. Just walking though the museum is an incredible experience. In addition to the artworks on display, columns, doors, and windows from 12th-15th century are worked into the architecture of the building. There are open courtyards and historically accurate Medieval style gardens.

The beauty and intricacy of the work in all of the pieces far outstrips my ability to describe it. But I will say that the art was definitely not stiff and expressionless, it was all full of emotion and had a life to it that you will definitely not find at the MoMA. I was completely in awe the whole time I was there

I think this was my favorite piece. The three busts in front are carved from wood and painted. The big piece behind the three ladies is carved alabaster. The ladies are about life sized, so it's huge and amazing and that's all I have to say about it. Here's a closer shot below. The lady on the left cracks me up.