Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Website!!!!

There is a new website.
Please read all about it at www.floridascarf.com
Thank you for keeping up with me as my business grows, art improves, and journal gets fatter.

All of my past blog post are archived on the new site.
I am in the process of transferring the Germany Page.
I still need to finish writing about Bali. 
Stay tuned...but not here...over there.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Painting Process

I recently read an article on a current exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
The title is “Matisse:In Search of True Painting”
The writer of the article makes the exhibit sound fabulous. In particular, the show is described as being quite informative on, not only the artist, but on behaviors that should be practiced by all artists. I've never thought of an exhibit as instructional before. But I think it is a wonderfully smart way to experience what your viewing; not just emotionally but scholastically as well. If you have access to the Met before March17th, maybe you should go. Here's a link to the article.

The six things the article claims you will learn are; when to use black, that the background is part of the composition, that one should always do multiple studies, knowing when simplicity wins over details, why to document your process, and that there is no shame in imitating your contemporaries.

In reading what the article had to offer, I came to a conclusion that my own artistic practices have a lot in common with those of Matisse. Please mind; I am not trying to (overly) liken myself to a master painter. I am just having a bit of (fancy) fun with information that has been brought to light.

I found a few things we had in common, but most importantly (for me) Matisse documented his painting process visually. In the 30's he hired a photographer to take photos of the various stages of his work. This showed his painting was more strategic than spontaneous. Looking back at photos also helped him plan future moves. I will use this fact; that we both love to document our process to segue into my own photographic representation of one of my recently finished paintings. Enjoy. 
This is the initial photograph.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's our Anniversary

No, not me and Phil. That anniversary is in September.
It's me and Germany's Anniversary...
and we've come a long way babe.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Neon Hat

Have you ever thought about what your least favorite temperature is?
Mine is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It makes the weather incredibly annoying. It's been between 38 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit here for a couple of weeks. It's been chilly, wet and gray; and I've had trouble deciding if I need a coat, or not, most days.
Not Today! It's cold again; under 30 degrees. I couldn't be more relieved. The air feels fresh and crisp, and we even saw some snow flurries. I definitely wore my jacket when I went outside...
And my new hat!
(I know I look like a dork in this photo, but that's what happens when you take pictures of yourself.)
(P.S. I am also aware that it is even dorkier that I am standing in front of one of my paintings. In my defense I just got excited about Winter.)

I'm, obviously, showcasing this hat because it was handmade.
Even better; it was handmade for me by my friend Elizabeth.
I didn't know what it was going to look like until it was done.
I told Elizabeth I wanted it to match my sneakers.
And Viola! 
Nice work E.

It's cool when you are good at making things. It's twice as cool when you have friends that are good at making things and you get to make things for each other. I think that is how the world goes 'round.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Build a Collection

When you see something you love, you get it. Once it's yours, you keep it forever. You don't stop there. You keep looking. You want to find another thing you love, to put with the other thing you love, so you can love them together.
Now you're working on a collection.
Phil and I have a collection of old license plates. Phil and I also have a collection of wooden masks. We have a music collection that we are rather proud of, and a snowboard DVD collection. Really, the snowboard flics are Phil's collection. I just sit next to him as he watches them repeatedly, rewinding and replaying his favorite parts, and breaking moves down for me one frame at a time. Thanks to travel; I've got a pretty awesome collection of stamps in my passport. And the list goes on...
I've got another collection that I didn't even realize I was forming until recently. Now it is something I am rather excited about. It is my handmade jewelry collection; and it is pretty spectacular. Currently I wear it all on my right hand, but I have no doubt it will be expanding.
Here's where it started. This is my Jake ring; and by that I mean this is my Five Year Anniversary Band made by Jacob Albee. If I was as much of a blogger then as I am now, I would have written about this ring a long time ago. Nonetheless. This ring was handmade by Jake in his Vermont studio. It's made of meteorite. How cool is that? It's Gibeon Meteorite to be exact; made of iron and nickel. It is 4.55 billion years old, and it fell from (somewhere between) Mars and Jupiter and landed in Namibia. Here Jake has incorporated white gold and three different colors of diamonds.
This ring exemplifies the jeweler's mantra of combining the past with the present; earth and atmosphere. 
I always wore my Jake ring on it's own. I found it to be such an incredible piece, that I never had much to compliment it. Then I went to a Christmas market in Anwanden, Germany, and found the jewelry of Erdwind. Erdwind is a small jewelry business run by Conya and Klaus. The two have turned their love of nature, and delight of collecting nature's treasures, into delicate and beautiful handmade jewelry. Their work highlights driftwood from Corsica, various tree seeds, pearls, shells, and metals.
I fell in love with this ring featured above. Particularly so because I found it to be a wonderful juxtapose to my anniversary band.
 Not even two days later, I received a Christmas gift from my mother. (who happens to have a flair for cool jewelry) We have a lot in common. I know if she likes something, I'm going to like it too. She's a clay artist; and she was recently at a Christmas Bazaar herself when she found the work of Angela Duffin. Angela makes jewelry from mixed metals and precious stones. She is inspired by her love for textile design. I find it alluring how, treating metal like thread, can be so complimentary to the organic forms of the stones. 
I am proud to wear these three pieces together. As an artist I know how hard each craftsman has worked on their piece. I love how the artists, and I, all share similar ideals and motivations. I feel energized by the history (and personalities) of these objects. I can only hope that my own customers receive half as much joy in wearing my own products.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Snowboarding is for Kings. Surfing is for Beasts.

So after two days of sitting around with a busted belly and a busted foot I decided that I'd had enough. I was no longer going to sit on the beach watching other people surf and play in the water. I was done worrying that I was going to have to go to the bathroom, and worrying that I was going to get dirt and germs in my cut on my foot. I went to the pharmacy and bought waterproof band aids. One of the instructors told me my foot would have heeled in 48 hours if I had put placenta on it. Great advice, I thought. Where in the heck would I know where to go for placenta? Would I want to try to heal my cut with someone else's placenta? I'm thinking no. I was already on enough antibiotics. This instructor was actually the one who drove me to the pharmacy to get band aids. We rode on his moped, without helmets, in the dark, after a few Bintang beers. As we left I was trying to play it cool but at the time I was thinking, “This can't be legal, but it is Bali. If I can survive this seriously risky drive I should be able to survive a cut in the ocean.”
At the surf camp it is normal that one would go through different instructors as the week went by. You pick different waves to surf, and you get different instructors. For Phil and I this was not the case. We kept ending up with the same instructor. For both of us it was fine. We liked having the same person everyday. It made progression easier. The funny part of it was that, personality-wise, our instructors could have been our alter egos. My instructor was the one driving a moped without a helmet after a few beers, suggesting to heal cuts with placenta. He wore a bleached mohawk and had plenty of tattoos. He told us a story how he broke his neck while break dancing, broke his shoulder while skateboarding, was taught reflexology by his Japanese grandfather, and had a brief career as a comedian with his father. On the other hand, Phil's instructor was a modest dude, had another job aside from instructing, and was saving money to marry his girl. He was a bit shy, really smart, and laughed at all of Phil's jokes. Both instructors lived to surf. 
Tuesday Daniel, my instructor, took us back to Batu Balong, but I think we surfed Old Man. They are right next to one another. I can't be sure. Before we got in the water Daniel gave us a huge lecture on the structure of our situation. There's a channel you paddle out through, so you don't get hammered by the wave. The wave can get shallow in spots; you must be aware of large rocks and reef. My mind was quick to let me be intimidated while he was speaking. It took all my strength to ignore myself and pay attention to Daniel. Once in the water it was a lot to think about. Plus there was a current so I constantly needed to keep an eye on the shore to make sure I didn't drift into a danger zone. The paddle out was long. The waves weren't huge but they were big enough. I just felt like I was fighting. Daniel would call behind himself; warning us to paddle faster so we didn't have a wave crash on us, or maybe so we'd get out quick enough to catch a good set. I could never figure it out. Like I said, I was in fight mode. And the waves kept rolling, rolling. He'd say, “Go.” I'd say, “Shit.” He'd say, “No shit.”
Then, “Holy Shit, I actually caught a wave.” Almost...Yup. There it is. I stood up. Yes! Finally I am riding waves. The effort pays off. I forgot how tired I thought I was. I forgot everything other than me, waves, and a board. It was a good time. Unfortunately the waves kept getting bigger, and I did eventually get tired, and the wave started to get crowded. I paddled back to shore. 
This particular week we spent at the surf camp made me appreciate snowboarding even more. I have come to the conclusion that snowboarding is for kings and surfing is for beasts. In surfing there are absolutely no guarantees, and you are constantly working. It's hard work. There is so much you can't see. There's a lot you have to train yourself to see. There's a lot you have to think about. There's also a lot you have to force yourself not to think about. Much of snowboarding is handed over on a silver platter; a platter that we pay for in the price of admission. We definitely pay for it...$$$ 
Surfers love dawn patrol; but skiers, alike, love the first run. Is there anything better? One thing you don't do in snowboarding is call last run. That's how you get hurt. In surfing you have to call last wave. Otherwise you might never get out of the water. Another thing they do have in common is that both activities, surfing and snowboarding, need to be followed by hot tubs and local beer...in my opinion. Actually, if you think about it, a ski trail in the Poconos after a tiny snow fall can be a lot like a crowded lineup in the ocean. They're both a great way to get decapitated.
Oh man. I hate to admit it, but if I could change one thing about snowboarding; I'd make snowboarding food more like surfing food...cheap burritos, noodles, peanut sauce, and pancakes. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Creative Indulgence

Lately I have been spoiling myself by indulging a creative rampage. In the past couple of weeks I have completed over 5 paintings. Mind you, they were not all started a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn't want to insinuate that I am a fast worker. Here they are in no particular order.

Over the coming days I will be posting the processes from some of these works.
Also, a few of these are available for purchase on Etsy.

Over the holiday season I have also been working on a series of special orders. I have been getting an increasing number of Special Orders. It is definitely more work to complete; but in a good way. It works my brain in ways that making what ever I want never could. Here's a few, in no particular order.

And my particular favorite of the season...The Santa Clause.
I have also been branching out from these two main outlets for my creativity. For instance, here is my snuggie for my plant. I made it from some old granny squares I have that my grandmother made. 
I love it. I want to make snuggies for everything using these squares. Everything you wrap in them looks adorable.
What's my next “branching out” project?
Figuring out how to cut down and resew my grandfather's flannels into a size that fits me.

I also have plans to finally finish the throw rug made from knotted t-shirts that I started in May. 
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year. It's Already Been Brought.

It's cool when you get to be one of the first people in the world to celebrate a holiday. It is particularly fun on New Year's Eve. This year I enjoyed stepping into the new year six hours ahead of most people I know.  Doubling my pleasure was having my morning coffee and receiving messages from a few people who were apres party partying. Even though my holiday was over I still had the excitement knowing that my friends and family were in the thick of it.
I had a holiday split this New Year's Eve. First I went to a party at a girlfriend's house, but I left by 11:30. I welcomed in the New Year with my neighbors. From their top floor balcony you can watch a spectacular firework display to mark the slide of Germany into 2013.
Let's start with the house party first. It was a theme party; and for this I was grateful. I like getting dressed up for parties, but I also enjoy not taking myself too seriously. The theme of the party was Pho Glam. Party goers translated this into understanding that we would all come dressed in our most desperately unappealing (and cheap) attempts at New Year's semi-formal wear.
I have been developing a desire to purchase a top hat for some weeks now. I have been looking in thrift stores, at Christmas markets, and on websites. I had never quite found anything to jump out at me. I was browsing Etsy recently and saw a mini top hat on a headband; made by a crafter who used a cereal box as her base. She then covered the cereal box with fabric and accessories. That is when the light bulb went off. I decided to make my own hat for the Pho Glam Party. I wanted my hat to be festive, cute, obviously handmade, and a little silly. Here's how I did it.

If you're gonna copy me you'll need a small sour cream container (preferably not fat free) and a larger plastic lid. (I used a 32 oz. ricotta cheese container.) You will also need black duct tape and decorative accessories. Oh, and a string and needle to be able to tie the hat to your headband.

The Party was a blast. My absolute favorite part of the party was when a new guest would enter and we'd all stare to see what she was wearing...and it wasn't considered rude because it was (like) a costume...and we'd all whistle and cat call. My second favorite part of the party was drinking champagne, well sparkling wine. It is such a treat; especially in Germany. You can get a stinkin' good bottle for $3.00. After all of the guests were present we voted to see who's outfit was the best. I gotta tell you; credit went where credit was due. I don't know my friend found this dress, but it rocked. I was pretty jealous. It looked exactly like something my Malibu Barbie could have worn, and she had the eyelashes to match.
The rest of us Runner's Up looked pretty fun too.
As this first party was just heating up I was donning my jacket in preparation for my next celebratory activity; fireworks with Katharina and Ludwig. My house sits on a bit of a hill and we can see the town of Ansbach below. At exactly midnight it is a German tradition that (almost) every single person light off as many fireworks as they possibly can, for as long as they can. The noise and light and heat are said to ward off evil spirits and bad ju-ju from 2013. My fellow guardians of the new year did a fabulous job last night. I was standing on the balcony in complete awe. I have never seen a firework display so amazing. They were everywhere. It was beautiful, and it went on for almost ten minutes. Prior to New Year's Eve fireworks are for sale everywhere; and everyone is buying them by the trunk load. Even in witnessing this, I could never have imagined the site I would behold at midnight...too cool. The most endearing part about it to me is that, essentially, this is something that the community gets together and puts on themselves. It is not part of the city government's budget, or some professional ordeal involving a license and money and parking and rules. In Germany people are just doing it for themselves. I am really excited for next New Year's Eve already.