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Jun. 12th, 2014 @ 07:49 am (no subject)
Good morning. I didn't go to the gym this morning, which was the smart decision but is still really throwing me off at the moment. I decided to have sex instead of getting up in time for a shower, which was again, nice and the smart thing to do but is also throwing me a bit off. It's supposed to be a bit chilly today, I think I might take the girls to Sovereign Grounds. Amy watched Pearl all day yesterday, and I chose to use that time to practice setting up my booth, which was again, the smart thing to do. Man, I'm getting screwed making all these smart decisions today. It was a good thing to do, I learned several things that I need to do and did some work that needs to be done before next weekend, and yet it was pretty sad for me to have all-day childcare and get less sculpting done than I have almost every day for the last few weeks. I don't know why that bothers me so much, but it does. Also, setting up the booth and taking it down all by myself back to back after doing a really intense spin class was demanding just a bit much from my body, and she has not forgiven me just yet. I am so sore and achy today, and I was just flat exhausted last night. I guess I shouldn't worry so much. One of the things I learned yesterday is that I have plenty of product, really. I can display about 3/4 of what I have which should give me enough stuff to replace purchased items I think. There's still stuff I want to make, and I'd like to figure out how to get a pop culture jewelry section going. Maybe another table, I could even use a tv tray or something. And another diaper box. I don't know. Something. I need like a whole other day to recover from yesterday, it feels like. And I still don't know when I'm going to get all this stuff done. I'm hungry. Thanks for listening to me this morning, and for being with me all the time. Praise and honor and glory to your name forever and ever, my greatest friend.
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Oct. 15th, 2013 @ 02:14 pm For Happiness

So I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve become a tad bit obsessed with making polymer clay jewelry. It started out as a little endeavor to add a summer-friendly product to my etsy store, but now it’s probably what I think about the most after the cute husband and my lovely daughter. I am having so much fun with it, and there are so many things I can still try. Here’s just a few of the things I’ve been working on.

Jewelry 3

Jewelry 4

Jewelry 5

Jewelry 7

Jewelry 8

I have to say that I’ve been pretty inspired by the artist profiles I’ve been doing. I expected that the last question, what is your unique purpose for creating work, would lead to all manner of profound and earth-shaking answers. I was surprised to find that several artists make art because they like to make art, or because they think it makes people happy, or just because that’s what they do. Hearing that from artists that I really respect and admire has set me free to make these pieces just because I love making them, without having to worry about what kind of impact it’s having on the world or whether this will fulfill the thirst of my soul for significance.

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Oct. 7th, 2013 @ 02:21 pm Artist Profile: Emma Van Leest

What do you love about your medium?

I’ve often said I love the way that paper cutting is about transforming an everyday material which we all use all the time, into something amazing, precious and beautiful. It’s almost an alchemical quality. Also, I consider myself as working in a female craft tradition – my mother taught me to sew, my grandmother taught me to knit – these are practices which require repetition, patience and skill in addition to imagination and creativity, and they are small scale, practiced in the home, in the quiet moments.

Emma Van Leest 4

Describe a piece of artwork that you find superficial or boring.

Mine or someone else’s? Lots of art is superficial, decorative even and not boring. I find a lot of conceptual art boring. I guess I’m a bit of a traditionalist in that I want to be visually engaged, I want to entranced by art, I want there to be skill involved, that I can see. I love it when I can see that the hand is involved – it’s not compulsory but I do prefer it, I think.

When did you first call yourself and artist and why?

I can’t remember – I would try it on for size but I never really believed it for myself. At one point I got a tattoo, which in a way was an act of marking a point in time after which I couldn’t turn back, that now (as this was more than 10 years ago, before everyone started getting tattoos) I was definitely different and had chosen a different path. One moment that had a big impact too was when I did my first commercial solo show, and someone else, a big collector, said it to me that I was now a real artist – then I felt some affirmation! I was a bit insecure back then. I’m much more comfortable with it now. Recently someone joked to me about being paid so I ‘don’t feel like a hobbyist’ and I responded very firmly that I was definitely not a hobbyist!

Emma Van Leest

Describe a piece of artwork and/or an artist that you find consistently inspiring.

I love Vermeer’s work. The way the light hits everyday objects, making them magical, it makes you remember that everyday things are beautiful and transcendent too. In fact, I love the whole story of Vermeer – a normal man with normal, everyday concerns such as paying the bills and running a business, but he quietly produced these incredible works about everyday events and concerns.

Emma Van Leest 2

What is your unique purpose for creating work?

I don’t even know anymore, it’s my profession. It’s what I do, I just don’t even think about it. The process started a decade ago and I’m just rolling with it.

Emma Van Leest 3

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Oct. 1st, 2013 @ 02:12 pm Todd Boss

If you’ve never seen animated poetry, I am delighted to be the first to introduce you. There is something so perfectly gelled in the combination of short film and poetry; I’ve never seen one that I don’t like. But I have a particular fondness for the poems of Todd Boss, and so here is one of his lovely pieces put into pictures by Emma Burghardt and lulled to music by Debra Barsha.

Also, you should check out Motion Poems, because they are responsible for a great deal of this artwork. That organization connects film makers with poets and adds a little magic.

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Sep. 27th, 2013 @ 02:08 pm Anne Sexton

So I’m cheating a little today, picking one of the classics instead of scouring the world for a new and brilliant artist with a still-beating heart. But I love Anne Sexton and I love her fairy tale poems the most. I love how Sexton shifts from insidious innuendo to face-smacking sarcasm in one turn of phrase, how she turns all the old stories on their heads. It’s long, but you should read it anyway. If you begin, you will almost certainly finish.


A woman

who loves a woman

is forever young.

The mentor

and the student

feed off each other.

Many a girl

had an old aunt

who locked her in the study

to keep the boys away.

They would play rummy

or lie on the couch

and touch and touch.

Old breast against young breast…

Let your dress fall down your shoulder,

come touch a copy of you

for I am at the mercy of rain,

for I have left the three Christs of Ypsilanti

for I have left the long naps of Ann Arbor

and the church spires have turned to stumps.

The sea bangs into my cloister

for the politicians are dying,

and dying so hold me, my young dear,

hold me…

The yellow rose will turn to cinder

and New York City will fall in

before we are done so hold me,

my young dear, hold me.

Put your pale arms around my neck.

Let me hold your heart like a flower

lest it bloom and collapse.

Give me your skin

as sheer as a cobweb,

let me open it up

and listen in and scoop out the dark.

Give me your nether lips

all puffy with their art

and I will give you angel fire in return.

We are two clouds

glistening in the bottle glass.

We are two birds

washing in the same mirror.

We were fair game

but we have kept out of the cesspool.

We are strong.

We are the good ones.

Do not discover us

for we lie together all in green

like pond weeds.

Hold me, my young dear, hold me.

They touch their delicate watches

one at a time.

They dance to the lute

two at a time.

They are as tender as bog moss.

They play mother-me-do

all day.

A woman

who loves a woman

is forever young.

Once there was a witch’s garden

more beautiful than Eve’s

with carrots growing like little fish,

with many tomatoes rich as frogs,

onions as ingrown as hearts,

the squash singing like a dolphin

and one patch given over wholly to magic –

rampion, a kind of salad root

a kind of harebell more potent than penicillin,

growing leaf by leaf, skin by skin.

as rapt and as fluid as Isadoran Duncan.

However the witch’s garden was kept locked

and each day a woman who was with child

looked upon the rampion wildly,

fancying that she would die

if she could not have it.

Her husband feared for her welfare

and thus climbed into the garden

to fetch the life-giving tubers.

Ah ha, cried the witch,

whose proper name was Mother Gothel,

you are a thief and now you will die.

However they made a trade,

typical enough in those times.

He promised his child to Mother Gothel

so of course when it was born

she took the child away with her.

She gave the child the name Rapunzel,

another name for the life-giving rampion.

Because Rapunzel was a beautiful girl

Mother Gothel treasured her beyond all things.

As she grew older Mother Gothel thought:

None but I will ever see her or touch her.

She locked her in a tow without a door

or a staircase. It had only a high window.

When the witch wanted to enter she cried’

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.

Rapunzel’s hair fell to the ground like a rainbow.

It was as strong as a dandelion

and as strong as a dog leash.

Hand over hand she shinnied up

the hair like a sailor

and there in the stone-cold room,

as cold as a museum,

Mother Gothel cried:

Hold me, my young dear, hold me,

and thus they played mother-me-do.

Years later a prince came by

and heard Rapunzel singing her loneliness.

That song pierced his heart like a valentine

but he could find no way to get to her.

Like a chameleon he hid himself among the trees

and watched the witch ascend the swinging hair.

The next day he himself called out:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,

and thus they met and he declared his love.

What is this beast, she thought,

with muscles on his arms

like a bag of snakes?

What is this moss on his legs?

What prickly plant grows on his cheeks?

What is this voice as deep as a dog?

Yet he dazzled her with his answers.

Yet he dazzled her with his dancing stick.

They lay together upon the yellowy threads,

swimming through them

like minnows through kelp

and they sang out benedictions like the Pope.

Each day he brought her a skein of silk

to fashion a ladder so they could both escape.

But Mother Gothel discovered the plot

and cut off Rapunzel’s hair to her ears

and took her into the forest to repent.

When the prince came the witch fastened

the hair to a hook and let it down.

When he saw Rapunzel had been banished

he flung himself out of the tower, a side of beef.

He was blinded by thorns that prickled him like tacks.

As blind as Oedipus he wandered for years

until he heard a song that pierced his heart

like that long-ago valentine.

As he kissed Rapunzel her tears fell on his eyes

and in the manner of such cure-alls

his sight was suddenly restored.

They lived happily as you might expect

proving that mother-me-do

can be outgrown,

just as the fish on Friday,

just as a tricycle.

The world, some say,

is made up of couples.

A rose must have a stem.

As for Mother Gothel,

her heart shrank to the size of a pin,

never again to say: Hold me, my young dear,

hold me,

and only as she dreamed of the yellow hair

did moonlight sift into her mouth.

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Sep. 26th, 2013 @ 01:08 pm Sara L’étrange

While on a search for something terribly specific, I ran across this amazing piece by Sara L’étrange. It has absolutely nothing to do with what I was looking for, but it is fantastic, and that is the kind of day it has been.

Sara L'trange

Sara L’étrange works almost exclusively with gel pen, and her artist statement has some really wonderful language about the nature of working with a medium that can’t be painted over, erased, or moved once it’s down. I really kind of love her take on it, it’s well worth a read.

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Sep. 24th, 2013 @ 02:24 pm Secret Garden

I hate to admit this, but when choosing artwork to post on this page I often run through potential objections that could be made to a certain piece. I worry that people will find the artwork uninspiring, confusing, too literal or too abstract, and I can make myself crazy that way. There are many reasons I can think of that someone might not fully appreciate this gorgeous song by Secret Garden, but I can’t help myself. I’ve listened to it a lot of times now (mostly in an unsuccessful search for a youtube version without a nature montage), and every time it has the same effect on me. It feels like entering cathedral, like watching world class ballet, like meditating, like being prayed for. If you’re very offended by religious themes, you might want to skip this one, but if you’re even a little open to it, please give it a try. It really is lovely.

If you love this music like I do, you might want to click here and peruse some of their albums.

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Sep. 23rd, 2013 @ 01:53 pm Artist Profile: Patricia Arribálzaga

That wonderful, fanciful, fantastic food artist, Patricia Arribálzaga, whom I featured a while back was kind enough to respond to my request for a short interview. I love her concise, to-the-point responses; she radiates confidence and certainty about her craft.

Cakes Haute Couture 6

What do you love about your medium?

I love working with edible material, my art is ephemeral, my art object are dematerialized when people eat it

Cakes Haute Couture

Describe a piece of artwork that you find superficial or boring.

In my case I find boring the artwork that you can find in every places denoting lack of surprise and personality .

Cakes Haute Couture 2

When did you first call yourself an artist, and why?

When I was around 7 years old when I felt a strong emotion with the result of my drawings and hunger to continue working.

Cakes Haute Couture 3

Describe a piece of artwork and/or an artist that you find consistently inspiring.

The silence of William Turner, the poetry of Fragonard and the colours of Monet

Cakes Haute Couture 4

What is your unique purpose for creating work?

Enjoying expressing myself trough my edible art

Cakes Haute Couture 5

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Sep. 18th, 2013 @ 12:58 pm Nihal Erpeden

I’ve started a new little endeavor recently, making jewelry from polymer clay. I’ve successfully created one respectable piece with a minimal amount of cursing. I love the range of polymer clay, how it can look like leather, glass, stone, wood, ceramic, whatever you can imagine. It’s a joy to work with a medium like that.

Which brings me to today’s artist, Nihal Erpeden, whom I came across while I was looking for a little inspiration (hubris, really. There’s nothing I saw that I can even close to approximate), and I found this amazing jewelry artist.

Nihal Erpeden

I love how she combines the free-form, organic detail on a surface so precise and geometric. It really is lovely, and anyone would be lucky to own such a piece.

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Sep. 17th, 2013 @ 02:33 pm Federico Bebber

So its been a bit of a day. Running injury, weepy kiddos, and an 18-month old who just learned how to stamp her foot and say “Nnnnnoooooo!” in public. Even now my daughter and the lovely little girl I watch occasionally are upstairs jumping up and down in their cribs just in case I thought they might be sleeping. So when I saw this dramatic photograph by Federico Bebber, it really spoke to the kind of fractured stress I’ve been feeling.

Bipolar Day

Bipolar Day

Federico Bebber‘s work is a little creepier than I usually prefer, but it is perfect for this kind of day. In his artist statement, he says that these images are a result of restlessness caused by discomfort. This guy has my number for sure, and I love that even such dark and frustrating emotions can result in this kind of beautifully detailed and profound work.

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