Designing inspired by snark: The steampunk squid damask

This design always makes me shake my head. It continues to be the most popular design in my Spoonflower shop and it was entirely inspired by snark.

I created it when I was working on the Spoonflower Handbook. One of the projects we wanted to do was a shower curtain and my co-authors and I had managed to convince our editors that the print should be something a little off the wall. We wanted something that wasn’t just Pinterest-worthy, but had a little of the amazing weirdness that can be found among Spoonflower designs. So we settled on octopi, which were a big trend at that time. (They are still pretty popular.)

But we couldn’t find a design that we all agreed on that would fit in to the curriculum in the book. We had a plan for the projects in the book to help you build different skills and teach techniques as you progressed through the book. We needed this design to help teach a particular skill. The trick was to find something that both taught what we needed it to teach and passed the thumbs up of the people in charge of the “look” of the book. (That wasn’t me.)

We tried something made with clip art, but that didn’t fit the design lesson (and licensing was tricky). We tried hand-drawing something inspired by that.

We tried using a vintage illustration from a 1918 encyclopedia.

I cut it out and repeated it, I made many different colorways, we scaled it to different sizes. I made and printed 27 versions of the “octopus design” and nothing could get the thumbs up from everyone who […]

I wanna be in the room where it happens.

We saw it. It took signing up for a waiting list, winning a spot in a lottery, clicking through at just the right time and a whole lot of luck, but we scored tickets and saw Hamilton on Tuesday night.

I’ve been trying to stay away from knowing too much about the show because I wanted to experience it for the first time right there. I must be one of the only people on the planet who does not have the music memorized. I don’t even own the cast album. And I was a theater major and president of my high school Drama Club, so this was hard for me. But I know how amazing it is to see something live, with a room full of people who are excited to be there. I wanted that experience.

Hamilton is breathtaking. And I mean that in many ways. The first act literally never takes a breath. There are no scene changes to wait for, no transitions, no scenes full of dialog where you can sit back and relax. There is music and choreography and visual tableaus to take in from the very second the show starts until you feel like you can exhale at intermission. I have never seen a show that grabs you like this and doesn’t let you go. I will argue that Wicked has the very greatest act one closer ever, but Hamilton leaves you with a similar kind of rush.

Thinking about it, I am a little surprised that Hamilton is as popular as it is, honestly. It is an odd show. Maybe that’s what does it. It is more like an opera than a musical. There are about five minutes of the whole show […]

2018-10-07T22:36:57+00:00Everything Else|Comments Off on I wanna be in the room where it happens.

You’re not doing art wrong.

A couple of years ago I joined an art organization and went to a monthly meeting with about 20 people. I was excited to be part of a group and to talk about art related things. On the agenda for the meeting was to have a discussion and show-and-tell about our sketchbooks. It sounded like it could be interesting hearing about other people’s process (and it was) but I don’t keep a sketchbook. That’s not a part of my process; I’m not a sketcher. So we went around the room and people talked about how they organize ideas for pieces or make lists of tasks to do. Some made more journal type books with beautiful complex works of art on each page. Some used theirs as a mood board or inspiration source where they created a collage for pieces they were thinking about. All cool ideas and interesting to hear them talk about each version. But when my turn came around the circle, I didn’t have anything to show and it was at that point where, unfortunately, I stopped enjoying the meeting.

I do sketch things. Like that little dog up above. I printed out the circle on a piece of card stock and made a sketch and then I scanned it and used it as a guide to draw the version on the right in Illustrator. I am a lot looser when I draw things on paper, so I often do a little rough sketch of characters especially and use that to help me with proportions and placement when I get into the computer. It’s a process that works well for me. But this little sketch is […]

An unexpected delight: Origami in the Garden at MN Landscape Arboretum

A few weeks ago I spent an evening at the Bakken Museum as a guest artist. The theme was “art in the garden” and it was held on their rooftop patio. For a project, I suggested that I teach people to fold origami butterflies to go with the garden theme. By happy chance, Minneapolis St Paul Magazine was a sponsor of the event and sent along a case of magazines for us to recycle and make art with. It was a perfect match for my project.

I brought some of my fabrics along that feature origami and recycled paper so I could talk about how I use origami in my art.

At least three different people at the event asked me if I had seen the “giant origami” at the MN Landscape Arboretum. I hadn’t heard anything about giant origami, nobody could really tell me anything more about it, and after that night I sort of forgot about it. The Arboretum is about 45 minutes from my house and mostly off my radar. By chance, yesterday afternoon the concert band that my husband plays with had scheduled to play a concert at the Landscape Arboretum. I almost always go along to listen to his concerts and I remembered the “giant origami” conversations. I thought it might be a little something to look at while the band was warming up.

All I can say is WOW. I am so glad I got there and got to see this exhibition. It was stunning. It is called Origami in the Garden and is a collaboration […]

Art-O-Mat Love

When I was teaching this week at the conference center in St Cloud, MN, I was delighted to run across an Art-O-Mat. I had read about them and my friend Cedar had sent me photos of one she saw on her travels. You may remember my love for tiny museums from previous posts.

What is an Art-O-Mat? A repurposed cigarette vending machine that now vends ART! How cool is that?

Each slot is now filled with boxes that each contain an original piece of art from an artist. This one had all kinds of media including paintings, photos, ceramics, zentangle, and wax seals. You get a little hint at what is inside the box by a 2 inch label by each pull knob.

I decided that I needed to get two Art-O-Mat boxes, so I picked a collage artist and one that was labeled porcelain buttons.

I opened the porcelain buttons first from Art by Rhonda. I am sad to say that it looks like Art by Rhonda no longer has an active website. But I love the porcelain piece that was in the box. A fish!

From Kathryn Coneway, I got a paper collage of trees. There is a tiny bit of information about this artist at the link, but I can’t figure out where she is located. (The website is lacking in some basic information.)

A couple of mysteries, for sure. I love that my two pieces of art color coordinate so beautifully: black, yellow and turquoise. A […]

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