Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Etsy Shop is Live!

HURRAY! I got the Eyes Aflame Adornments Etsy shop going . . . I loaded up six
different button designs, and I'm just tickled pink. It takes me back to the 80's when every girl in my middle school had a cluster of 1" Duran Duran buttons pins to her denim jacket!
While none of them will be Duran Duran, I'll be getting some more
button designs and jewelry up this week . . .

I'm glad to finally be a part of the Etsy community - there are so many great artists from
around the world who sell their handmade goodies there - and there's a lot of vintage finds and great craft supplies available, too.

And of course it's a great excuse to make more stuff! And to hopefully trade with a bunch of the other wonderful vendors - of course, I'm also going to pull together a Christmas list
with a heavy emphasis on the handmade.

And if you're local to Portland, I'm also selling at
Crafty Wonderland this year on December 14th at the Convention Center along with an amazing array of other vendors. The first 200 people in line to get in when the event opens at 11 am will get goody bags full of niftiness donated by the vendors . . . like a local Sampler. And yes, I donated about 50 buttons . . .

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Opening at Guardino Gallery

Friday night was a big night - Guardino Gallery on NE Alberta had the opening for their 8th Annual Little Things show, and guess who had some work on display? Well, Linda Womack did, and Jennifer Mercede, and Mar Gorman, Kim Hamblin, and Diane Archer and a bunch of other artists and . . . me!

Here's a display of some dimensional work - encaustic and acrylic and assemblage.

Here's a close up of one called "View."

And here's another one called "Skeleton Key."

Here's another display of some flat encaustic and collage pieces. I think the one with the typewriter is my favorite.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Spotted: World's Biggest Squirrel

On Thanksgiving, I put out some dried corn on the cob out for
the squirrels who frolic in my yard.

Believe it or not, these guys usually hang upside down
and eat from the bird feeder.

Occasionally, they fall. But mostly they are able to successfully
hang upside and eat like bats.

So, I thought it was time to give them a break and set some food out just for them.
It looks like this big guy got all of it - We call him Alpha Squirrel.
Of course, it's also possible that he's only part squirrel. I'll bet he has raccoon DNA.
Or maybe even bear.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Printing with Junk!

I love to teach, and I teach about once a month, but I always forget to bring a camera . . . I taught a Basic Beading class yesterday at DIY Lounge, and while I remembered to bring my camera, I forgot to take a single picture . . .

Last month, I taught a class called Printing with Junk . . . I had no camera, but one of my students, Emily, did . . . so, instead of sharing yesterday's class with you, I'm going to share a class with you from a month ago! We used recycled materials - and junk - to make cool prints. Here's Emily, the smart lady with the camera:

She's holding a print she made with a recycled plastic bag.

And here's another student and her plastic bag print.

Here's a print I made using an old piece of styrofoam - I carved it with a hot knife.

Here's a student inking up a heat moldable foam stamp. In the foreground, you can see a cut foam stamp glued on a peanut butter jar lid.

These prints are made with a combination of plastic bag prints and cut foam prints.

This print is so fun - a bubble wrap print in yellow, mixed up with cut-foam-on-peanut-butter-jar-lid print.

And, here's me!

This class was a lot of fun . . . and I'll be doing it again on January 14th. Maybe I'll see you there - with your camera!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm a Winner!

One of the best things about blogging is the friendships that develop. I've met new people, and gotten to know other people better. Like Dayna Collins over at Alley Art Studio. I love following her adventures as she hunts through junk shops around Oregon and around the world! She just got back from Italy . . . I had so much fun reading her blog and following her journey, and then as a "thank you" for commenting, she sent me this super cool care package!

A bookmark from Assisi, cool yogurt glass, sugar packet, sand and stones, a bit of a place mat from the Cinque Terra . . . and my favorite, an antique brass keyhole! As a thank you, I sent her a little goodie from Mexico.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, Dayna nominated me for a blog award! How cool is that?! And now that I've won it, I get to put the badge on my blog, and pass it on to more folks . . . seven more folks, to be exact.

And all those folks get to put the badge on their blogs and nominate seven more folks.

So, I'm nominating a few of my latest favorite blogs - at least the ones that Dayna didn't nominate - and it's hard to narrow it down!

Erin over at A Dress A Day - cool vintage patterns and sewing nifty-ness
Betty at Bitter Betty Blogs - crafty adventuring
Claudia at Aux Petits Oiseaux - a wonderfully whimsical crafter
Diane at CraftyPod - your link to all the crafty goodness out there
Alice at FutureGirl - general craftiness, now with even MORE future!
Jen at Jen Worden - slightly creepy mixed media wonderfulness
Michael5000 at The Life and Times of Michael 5000 - a brainy break from the craftiness, with quizzes!

Now, I'm off to notify everyone . . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Window on Oaxaca

Time to head home . . . but let me leave you with a few more images of Oaxaca and the surrounding villages . . .

Street in Oaxaca City, near my favorite pizza place.

And a street near my hotel . . . I love the multi-colored buildings.

And a sneak peak into a courtyard . . . I love the way tropical locales build around an open courtyard . . . hidden from the street and full of fountains and color and sun.
And sometimes even red carts full of birdcages and green plants.

And windows with iron work and pretty paint on the walls.

I love the bright colors.

The pretty pastels.

And veggies at the native market . . . it travels from village to village in the Oaxaca valley.

I'll miss the sun and the bright colors.

I'll be glad to be rid of the Montezuma's Revenge, though.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oaxaca Craft Round-Up: Part Three

Oaxaca is well known for it's black clay pottery - the only places it's found are in Oaxaca State in Mexico and in New Mexico in the States. I got to visit a couple of different workshops where it's made. The pottery is all hand-built without a wheel.

And this guy moved fast, so the pictures are pretty blurry! You can see there are two saucers - it looks like two frisbees set on top of each other curved side to curved side - and the potters use these to spin the pots as they work on them instead of a wheel.

And they can make them go very fast!

When the clay is leather hard, it's possible to cut patterns into it. The clay is also polished while it's leather hard, usually with a piece of crystal, and pit fired. If it's fired a long time, the clay can hold water, but it ends up a kind of gray. If it's fired for a shorter time, the clay turns out shiny and black, but is less practical. In the fifties, when plastic came on the scene, it was a lot cheaper than the pottery. But . . . the shiny black pottery was very pretty . . . and it was a big hit with tourists like me!

Here's the pieces I bought . . .

With candles . . . Pretty!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oaxaca Craft Round-Up: Part Two

Part two - fiber! I got to visit a very cool rug workshop - here's the gigantic loom:

It's so big he has to step from pedal to pedal and work it section by section.

They spin and dye all the wool themselves, and use all natural materials to dye the wool. They use cochineal, a funky parasite that grows on cactus, to get the red color. They use indigo to get the blue colors.

And here's some nifty animal cross stitch from the Oaxaca Textile Museum.

Rows of ducks and geese and birdies. On a cloth.

And here's a blouse with roosters.

I got a couple of cute blouses, too, but none with this kind of detail . . .

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oaxaca Craft Round-Up: Part One

Ok, so I got sick in Mexico. It's almost cliche, really. A lovely touch of Montezuma's Revenge, combined with some sort of bronchial disturbance, which I seem sensitive to ever since a bad run-in with a hazardous mosquito coil in Bali several years ago. If it kills mosquitoes, chances are it's not so good to breathe it. Even if you're not a mosquito. Which I'm not.

I still managed to make it out on a few tours to see some crafty action. Oaxaca is well-known for whimsical little creatures carved out of twisty copal wood, called alebrijes. Apparently the name refers to the fact that they are creatures from the imagination, inspired by the odd shapes the wood naturally grows into . . .What started off a few decades ago as a fun hobby has turned into a full-blown tourist driven industry in Oaxaca.

Here's a carver surrounded by some of his creations. The wood is very wet when it's carved, and it takes it several weeks to dry out . . .

And here's one of his partners painting them with acrylic paints once they've dried.

And here are a few finished critters . . . A crazy happy squirrel surrounded by funny little somewhat threatening monsters . . . but he is so hanging onto that nut . . . You can see why tourists would be charmed. Or at least why I am . . .

And here's a massive peacock. All the little feathers are built as little pegs, and come out for shipping.

Here's a giant dragon!

And here's an imaginary hummingbird-in-flight shot! (Ok, so I didn't use a flash and my hand shook when I was taking the shot, which resulted in this snazzy lo-tech effect.)

And here's one that's not moving . . .

My what big eyes and big ears you have!

Are you feeling queasy?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Art, Politics & Entertainment

Strange how I always seem to be out of town for important events. I was in transit from Bali, Indonesia to Singapore (yes, in an airplane) on September 11th, 2001. And then, on Election Day, 2008, I was in the town of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Fortunately, I had a choice that evening of several locations to watch election results as they happen, surrounded by ex-pats and anxious tourists. One spot has become one of my favorite cafes because 1) it offers free wifi 2) it has really good tortas - hot sandwiches filled with seasoned beef and local cheese and 3) they also sell cereal with banana slices for breakfast, another weird comfort food of mine. They held an electoral countdown monitored on-line and posted on a whiteboard, complete with a George Bush pinata and free shots of mezcal, the local booze, when Obama reached 270 electoral votes! Today, the whiteboard had the words "324! Obamanos!" written on it in a rather booze-happy script.

I ended up watching the results in the bar of a local five star hotel, well, because it wasn't as crowded and had a large screen TV, and was also full of Obama supporters. (Yes, I've been a bit coy about my policital leanings because this is a blog about creativity, not politics, but let us just say I felt very at home, and er, helped the cafe owner hang the Bush pinata - and have been delighted by the crafty support for Obama I've been seeing around the blog-o-sphere). It was an amazing experience, to sit in that bar and feel the cheers pulse through me when the west coast results were announced and CNN declared Obama the winner. There wasn't a dry eye in the house during Obama's acceptance speech, though my waiter did indicate that his tears were because he was going crazy trying to keep the crowd in cervezas - there was barely room to walk in the bar.

In honor of exercising the political (and other) voices of the people, I thought I’d share some posters I’ve been finding around town - In many ways, they're a lot more interesting than some of the art in the local art galleries - especially when you can't quite read what's going on:
For example: Why is that cricket riding in the shopping cart, and where is s/he going? Do crickets have genders? What do they have to do with liberty and resistance?
What is a dog doing at a funeral for artists? Is s/he going to pull the banner off the funeral wreath? Does that count as dramatic tension in the image?

This one appears to have a bit of socialist message, but I still find it mustache-ist that only the guy with the most facial hair actually gets to sit down and read the paper.

She sure looks angry, and I think I would be too, if a caravan of theatrical tourists was about to come to my zocolo. Of course, I could be mis-reading this one.

Band or no band, I love the virgin of guadalupe in the gas mask, complete with flaming tire cape. I think I may need a flaming tire cape. None spotted yet in the markets.

Apparently, the local Luchadores (Mexican pro wrestlers) are now taking their stage names from soul music and American horror flicks. Really, it's embarrassing how pervasive American culture is.
Ok, all I can read on this one is "PreHispanic CoverUps," and maybe something about tattoo portaits, which might be "portraits" or "portents." I think its a little late to cover up the whole pre-hispanic thing, though it does look like someone tried to peel it off the wall. And, actually, The PreHispanic Peel Offs is kind of a cool name for a band. As is Tattoo Portent.

Oh dear. Don't get me started.