Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back to the Magic Gardens?

At this time last year, I had just moved to DC. I made several stops on the drive down from Vermont, and spent a few nights in Philadelphia with not much of a plan and plenty of time to explore. While I was wandering around I found the Magic Gardens, a South Philly landmark, and what turned out to be one of the most inspiring places I have ever been. The entire building is covered in mosaics, inside and out from floor to ceiling. The entire thing, and hundreds of mosaics all over Philadelphia, were done by Isaiah Zagar.

While I was walking around the building, I peered in to the back room, and there was Isaiah working on a new piece. We started talking, and I told him I was en route to DC and had just finished college with plans to be an artist. As someone who was in that same spot 50 years earlier, he offered me a scholarship to attend one of his workshops, learn his techniques, and do a mosaic in South Philadelphia. So two weeks later I drove back up and spent two days learning about glass cutters, tile, grout, mixing cement, and watched Isaiah creating his art. It's very natural and fluid; he doesn't sketch or erase, he doesn't plan, he just paints, and the results are incredible.

It can be so easy to get caught up trying to make things perfect that you end up not making anything at all. 

Right now I am frantically preparing for a Sugarloaf show next weekend in Oaks, Pennsylvania outside of Philly, and I can't wait to go back to the Magic Gardens.

To see more about Isaiah and the Magic Gardens, you can watch In A Dream, an amazing movie made by Isaiah's son Jeremiah that covers their lives, his art, and the way the two are connected.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm on Poppytalk!

Starting today, I am featured in Round One of the Holiday Market on Poppytalk Handmade! Poppytalk is an online market where you can curate a "table" for a month-long market, so for the next month you can stop by and take a look! Artists are rotated on the front page, or you can take a look at my page right here!

So take a look, It'll be up there for one month from today!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ink, Ink Everywhere

Yesterday I spent the day at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria using the printing press. I do most of my printing by hand in my apartment, but for the big things like tea towels, they really need to go through a press to come out right. At the Torpedo Factory (and places like it around the country) you can rent out the press for the day and you get to use all their inks, rollers, solvents and all the other expensive materials you need for printmaking. So until I buy a barn to fill with an antique press and hundreds of different inks and supplies, I will be renting.

The new towels are all available right here! Now back to the Christmas cards; the first design is finished, and you'll be able to see all of them by the end of the week (I hope)!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Scenes from this Weekend

After the non-stop fun and exhaustion of last weekend, this weekend was a much needed rest. On Saturday, we drove out to the arboretum, or "DC's Best Kept Secret" as it is otherwise known. Nestled between a car-repair shop and several carry-out restaurants are hundreds of acres of trails, themed gardens and picnic spots. We had planned to go for a bike ride, but Saturday was incredibly windy, so the bike ride was downgraded to a picnic. We found a spot overlooking the Anacostia River from the Asian Garden, which led to many jokes about me feeling at home.

On Sunday, Joe and I got up early and headed over to set up at Eastern Market. When we got there, the line of vendors waiting to get in was huge. Because of the nice weather, they had an unexpected number of people show up and no space for everyone they had accepted. After waiting for an hour, we were told that the market was full but we were first in line for next week. So next Sunday I will definitely be at Eastern Market!

That left us with a full day with no plans, which hasn't happened in approximately a year. So we walked over to the hardware store, bought a gallon of paint and painted the bedroom "Jade Isle."

When we were in New York a few weeks ago, Karen gave us several half cans of paint that were left over from years of different projects. Now that the bedroom is done, we will be tackling the living room with ten cans of different colors. Hopefully we will have time for that before another year has passed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eastern Market this Sunday!

This Sunday will be my second-to-last time at Eastern Market for the year now that Holiday Shows are starting up! So come by from 10-5 to check out the new stuff, and I highly recommend getting a breakfast burrito at the place across from the food market. What a way to start a Sunday.

Sewing on Paper (or Spandex)

Have you ever seen Romy and Michele's High School Reunion? The clothes! The comedy! The fact that they make every outfit themselves, including the feisty business suits they wear at the end! In my opinion this is the best movie ever made, and at the wee age of eleven, it inspired me to make an entirely new wardrobe that looked something like this:

I wish I had a photo handy of what that looked like, but you will just have to imagine it. It was this movie that taught me to sew. Actually it was my mom who helped me fashion the embroidered denim and hot pink lycra with a little feather boa trim, but we were channeling Romy and Michele.

Sadly I no longer have the guts to wear that kind of thing in public, including that playing card t-shirt which I copied and wore every day for quite some time, but I do have this dynamic duo to thank for my love of sewing.

If you don't own a sewing machine, go get one immediately. They are not too expensive, and will provide you with endless hours of fun. You don't have anything to wear to a party? Better grab some tulle and sparkly spandex and make yourself a jellyfish costume! I do have a picture of that, but it's too embarrassing to post here. 

Anyway, I love to sew, whether it's feather-trim mini skirts or block printed cards. Sewing on paper is incredibly simple, and since you don't have to worry about the fabric gathering or puckering, it's a great way to learn. You can make journals by sewing pieces of paper together, note cards with stitched designs, or just use it instead of glue in any paper project.

I came up with my sewn cards when I had a few little prints lying around that were too small to do anything with. I sewed one on to a blank card, and tah-dah! The stitched cards were in production. Try it! Borrow a friend's machine and get a quick lesson, and you will be on your way!

Here are the cards I've been sewing this morning:

So get on Netflix, watch Romy and Michele whipping up new outfits to wear to the clubs, and then try it yourself! The more feather boa trim the better.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Peony Print!

Yesterday I found out that my Christmas card designs blew off the roof of my car somewhere on the Pennsylvania interstate. To deal with it, I curled up in a ball and watched old episodes of 30 Rock (while wearing a snuggie, just to stay with a theme). After an hour or so of self indulgence I snapped out of it, grabbed my sketchbook and started again. So today the first of the new prints is ready! It's not very Christmas-y, but it is a new print that I'm very excited about: the Peony print! Next time I will make sure to keep it secure while my car is on the highway.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Rush is Just Around the Corner

This morning I looked at my well-loved planner and realized that the first big show of the holiday season is just three weeks away, and it feels like time is about to start flying. So it's back into power-production mode, as I try and make enough to get through the holiday season. Since this is my first Christmas season doing a full schedule of shows, I'm still trying to figure out exactly how much to make. I think the only way to be prepared is to make as much as humanly possible and hope for the best! So back to the studio I go.

Red Sunflowers

These sunflowers remind me of a craft project in one of those old-school craft books I had when I was younger, where you put white flowers in glasses of dye, and a day later you have a rainbow of color. I looked up red sunflowers and they are bred to be this color, but I still like to think the florist had them sitting in a bucket of red dye.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Items are Up!

After a few weeks of power-production, I finally have some new items up in the shop! New cards, tea towels, bags, journals and coin purses. Now I can get going on some new designs for the next few months of shows!

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