Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day of the Dead--painting #2 and embroidery

 Above is an embroidery project for this weekend's Day of the Dead at Nido Studio 6:00 until 10:00!
Below is painting number two of skull heads.  This one features natural themes and patterns and more "y"'s.  Gotta go---I've got lots more to make!

Art in the Classroom: Passport Project/ 7 Continents

Although I wasn't able to be in the classroom with the first and second graders participating in the passport project for Art in the Classroom, I constructed centerpieces representing the 7 continents.  These displayed various sights and activities that would be in those places.  So, the windmill construction was inspired by the four directions, and the images came from library books.  Choosing which countries to represent and how to represent them was more challenging than I had anticipated.  Do you highlight differences or sameness, antiquities or modern culture, natural phenomenon or urban communities?  I probably stressed unnecessarily in regards to the content,  (This is a common theme these days -- unnecessary stress, that is) but I take education seriously.  I feel a project like this can help expand a child's worldview and help her to realize that the US is not the center of the world as we so often like to think. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

West Elm: Meet the Maker Event

I have a feeling that improving at promotion and marketing will be on my 2014 list of resolutions.  Saturday was a unique experience.  I was one of 12 vendors displaying our wares at the new West Elm store in Oak Brook.  I'm so impressed that a retail location would welcome and support handmade goods into their space.  Not only that, I heard from another vendor that they dropped a line of goods that had stolen its designs from an artist's listing on Etsy.  Crazy weird partnership that worked somehow.  I made a few sales, several connections, and was able to school a couple of kids in embroidery.  A huge shout out to cousin Nicole who ran a coffee errand for me so that I could be awake for the second half of the show.  My display, shown in pictures below, was integrated into the kitchen section of the store.  Several shoppers remarked at how well my products blended into the rest of the West Elm collection.   I hope that they host another even like this, and if they do, I promise to send out emails with all the details!  You won't want to miss it.
PS One of the artists/vendors there was Penelope's ceramics teacher who is also a member at OPAL.  Her work is amazing and life changing.  Here is her website:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Ready for Day of the Dead

 The above is a linoleum cut print.  I printed this absent of the press just to check it out, but I'm eager to run this through the new press to make posters for the upcoming Day of the Dead show at Nido Studio on Nov. 2nd from 6:00 until 10:00.  Having lived on the border I'm concerned about dropping the "los" from the "Dia De Los Muertos", but upon examining some papel picado images (the inspiration for this piece), I saw it absent which was revelatory for me because it helps with the design immensely.  Any of my Spanish speaking friends able to back me up on this?  I hope I'm not making a huge linguistic error!
 This is the final of the first skeleton painting.  I'm considering adding a couple coats of boat varnish to make it shiny, yellowed, and a little more eery.  Any votes either way?
This is the beginning of the next one. 

I'll provide an update soon to the West Elm event.  I'll be doing some printing of totes and towels for that event which is this Saturday at West Elm in Oakbrook Center-- 1:00 - 6:00.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What I've been up to these last weeks and stuff

printed fabric drying in my entryway
 While my recent posts have been sparse and spare like little blips on a radar screen, this one will be crowded and tangled  like a squirrel's nest stuffed with leaves, fur, and string.  Which is to say that my brain is equally gnarled and creepy, perhaps.  We are in the final weeks of kitchen fixing, as Penelope calls it.  When I am not routing through the chaos for a spoon absent of grease or sawdust, I can be found gazing into my new soapstone counter top or opening and closing doors and drawers imagining what I will store in them.
print inspired by cross-section of a pomegranate
 In the craziness of our living room and dining room which have expanded to include kitchen, office, music rehearsal, and art studio, I printed the eight blocks linoleum blocks that I had carved onto muslin which I then fashioned into little cinch sacks to be used as reusable gift bags.  I sold a couple at Sunday's Nido Fall Market which I failed to market or mention or promote.  I guess I was lucky to be there.  I also forgot to take photos, but if you "like" Nido on Facebook there are some funny stop motion style videos of the various merchandise. 
A pile of printed fabric designed from nature: onion, hasta leaf and gerniums
 Speaking of Nido, we are planning a Dot to Dot show on November 2nd which will be Day of the Dead themed or Dia De Los Muertos for my bilingual friends.  I've begun a painting, but have big plans for prints, collages, dolls, and more.  Also, coming to Nido, The Peanut Gallery, which will feature small, affordable, and humorous artwork 6 shows a year which I will help curate.  I'll get you more info on both of these upcoming events as well as December's Winter Art Market at Nido as soon as I carve out more time to blog. 
incomplete skull painting
 I decided that I had to reclaim part of my studio in order to get serious work done, and it feels glorious!   To the reader the photo below may look perhaps as chaotic as the living room/ dining room/multi-purpose madness, but my chaos is absent of Legos and Tinker Toys, a huge victory. 
rearranged studio to accommodate printing projects
 Art in the Classroom is taking off this year.  We have our first project happening this month in the first and second grade combined room.  It has to do with the continents and passports and is very clever.  I take no credit in the design of this or the below project which my co-chair, Faith, put together for the book fair this week.  It is a little book mark monster.

 Here's the part where I ask for your brilliant ideas.  I want to have a communal altar space at our Day of the Dead show.  Any ideas on how our guests could manipulate some artifact to add to the altar and possibly take home.  It would be a way to remember the community of ancestors etc.  I'm thinking about flowers, candles, origami, pictures, etc.  It has to be cheap and easy.  (That sounds awful, doesn't it)
photo of a photo of a Mexican altar
 Looking ahead at my Cat Scratch Calendar:

1.  A meeting with West Elm which opened a store in Oak Brook.  They want to sell locally made goods and reached out to me and others after finding me on Etsy.  I'm not entirely sure what I have gotten into, but I do know that I am bringing my products to their store on the 19th to be incorporated into their displays.  They are mostly interested in my block printed pillows, towels, and totes, but I am going to take it all.  Why not?

2.  Finishing of kitchen should happen next week which means Pat and I will have to apply more paint to the walls, trim, and bead board.  We also want to refinish our kitchen table and reupholster the chairs.  This is a first for both of us; although, I remember watching my Dad work in the driveway with his transistor transmitting scratchy baseball games and oldies while he skimmed wrinkles of avocado, pistachio, and harvest gold off of countless pieces of molding and solid doors.  I can feel the steel wool in my hands, conforming to the grooves, forcing the stubborn paint to the surface.  I'm hoping to channel his patience, knowledge, and experience into this project.  No doubt, dinner will taste better after all of that hard work. 

3.  Lisa, my sister and mother hen of Nido Art Studio, and I are going to collaborate on a hand printed calendar for 2014.  We'll have them available for sale in December.  They'll be great for gifts.  So, keep us in mind.  I promise originality, coolness, and affordability.
my personal calendar/craziness

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chicago Homicides Related to Gun Violence in September 2013

Name Unknown, Marcus Rush, Leonard Anderson, Geremy Hoover, Alphonso Love,  Jamal Coleman, Robert Harvey, Brendan Temple, Jaleel Pearson, Tommy McNeal, Shawntina Purpo, Johnny Tinsey, Rubin Austin, Billy Sergent, Brandon Williams, Miguel Delgado, Brian Rollins, Antonio Calhoun, Jerelle Samuels, Olawale Giwa, Adrian Sianez, Emmanuel Bass, Geanni Boyd, Jeffrey Montgomery, Frederick Brown, Maurice Knowles, Jerome Wood, John Wallace, and Carl Pate

More information: