Friday, December 23, 2011

A few of my favorite things

Can you hear the Sound of Music?
"When the dog barks, when the bee stings, when I am feeling sad...
I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad."

My version of the song goes like this:
When the cat meows, when the fire burns down, when I am feeling overwhelmed,
I simply remember my favorite things and wish for more play time.
(granted you have to add a few extra notes - giggle.)

So here are a few things from my photography collection, not previously shared, that remind me of the fun I have had on road trips and at home playing with my camera and art supplies this past year.

Fingers crossed for more playtime - for you and me! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lunar Eclipse of the Moon

A little after 6:00 AM Pacific Standard Time, there I was in the pitch black in a bathrobe and garden shoes, looking north westward, camera in hand, shaking erratically from the cold. The last refrain I heard as the door snapped shut was "You won't get anything without a tripod." "No time," I shouted back. If only the earth would stand still for a minute, and the clouds stop moving and the eclipse hold on just for a second I might catch IT.

The only thing missing from this report is the sound of my teeth chattering.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I got it!

Braving flying branches, the water spout right behind me on the lake,
and a thoroughly strange adventure...
I got the cattail I was going after!

Since Thanksgiving every time I am seen wearing an apron in the kitchen
my husband thinks he is going to get some home baked cookies.
After all, it is the season.
Imagine his dismay when he finds me hunkered over a kettle time and time again,
spoon in hand, steam rising like a thunderhead column. 
And then there's the smell, like a sick wet cat, that has permeated the house.
This past week he finally spoke -
 "Those aren't cookies! and the house doesn't smell good either!"
No, honey, you're right! This is paper! Cattail paper!
I was going to say something more... but then
I got the Mr. Grinch look.
So, although I am having fun, I think I better start turning my attention to the season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A book called "Rust"

Jack Frost and Old Man Winter have begun to kick up their heels here in the Northwest. The weatherman has been so dramatical it makes some rush about in fear. The only reason I rush about is to get home to play. I have been finishing off my latest book called "Rust." I have contained 30 loose leaves of handmade paper printed with my photos of rust in a self-made box. The outside is covered with a rough textured paper picked up from Daniel Smith's house of delights last weekend.

That in itself is a story, but thankful we all should be, I did not succumb to purchasing the pine scented paint he was showcasing. Can't you see it? "Where's Jan?" (family searching through the house unable to find me) You aren't sniffing that tube of paint again are you? they'd yell out. There I would be - caught- under the easel, green paint smeared under my nose, sniffing the turpines right out of the tube! Yes, it is true - I have been known to pinch an evergreen or two just to get a hit of the heady scent. You do it too - I KNOW I am not the only one!

I have worked diligently on my book. I haven't let the upcoming holiday and the necessary cleaning frenzy to get in my way of working on my book! I do feel like it needs a rusty object on it, but it may take time to find just the right thing.  I do love the deckle edge on all four sides of  the paper and how the image runs off the page into the fluff. I am very thankful to have a place to put my images collected from all around Washington and parts of Oregon. Of course, I am thinking of making more books - perhaps constructed the same way to hold all my other image collections - rocks, trees, bark.  It may just be the beginning of a book collection. Muse willing. So without further ado-            

I have much to be thankful for this season - but the surprise of the season was to be included in a publication by the Puget Sound Book Artist group. When I was accepted for their exhibition this past summer I had no idea about the publication. Muse and I grinned at each other and agreed I better keep improving my gluing techniques - you never know where things will end up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't take away my woodstove!

It was a blustery, windy, weekend with an extra day to linger longer. It's surprising what thoughts and ideas can percolate up when you sip your tea next to a warm, woodstove. Frankly, they have to be BIG thoughts to move one's self from the cozy reach of a woodstove. The cats agree. But move I did. To the kitchen, as it was far too cold and damp in the greenhouse to play there. With blender whirling and play things strewn from one end to the other - I made paper! I made 37 sheets of cotton and cattail fluff paper (4 x 6") using my funny little technique and the simplest of equipment. Some of the papers started their drying time on plywood boards, some on my dehydrator screens and a few on plexiglass.  I fretted that the paper wouldn't dry fast enough so I could continue to play the rest of the weekend. I was wrong. Within minutes (next to the wood stove - smile) they were ready. Just for security I left them laying across the mitten rack above the woodstove for a little more curing.  The ones on plexiglass came out so smooth, perfect for text images.

As the weekend progressed the joy continued - I used the paper to make a loose leaf book of my photos of... smile wink, blink... more on that later. Question - Did the housecleaning get done ? In a word, No.  But the laundry did and food got on the table. So! Two out of three domestic goddess duties did get done for which I hope will bank some credit so I may continue to play.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

While I was gone...

I have been off traveling. Regretably it is now time to return to normal living. The adjustment has been... let us say, difficult. I liked having all the meals prepared, the housekeeping done by someone else, not to mention having my head filled with phenomenal views and new ways of looking at the world. My brain hurts there has been so much stuffed into it.

So, I have looked for ways to gently enter back into the work-a-day world and yet not forget the pleasures we had. Translation - this means copious amounts of time spent in front of the picture window with a mug of hot eggnog latte watching the leaves drift to the ground.

Today, my eyes settled on this THING in the yard.  It was a coffee can with this cloth covered thingy sticking up with a dark foreboding liquid lapping at the edges. What the heck? Oh... my little dyeing bucket! I had totally forgotten about my little experiment - a dye project using coffee, tea, leaves and rusty objects. I started it in Sept and promptly forgot about it. I think that is what you are supposed to do too.
For the last several months I have been following the work of  Velma at Wake Robin and India Flint at
Two very talented women, who love to make bundles of cloth wrapped around plant material, rusty stuff, maybe some soda ash and then they wait... and wait... and after a time they get the most spectacular results. I am happy to say me too-can do! I unwrapped my rusty, icky looking thing and this is what I got. I am sure I will do more. It is so abstract! No tellling what a person could do with the cloth or the photos of the cloth. Smile! I am BACK (in the saddle again)! Now, how to juggle work time so there is ample play time?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Muse Took a Turn

 I was happily carving away on my speedy cut stamps making all manner of pods and seeds for printing on tea bags and handmade paper with the hopes it could become a book.  I was going to call it Seeds, Pods and Papavers. Actually I did call it that. It was almost to completetion when the muse ran through the studio giggling and laughing with excitement.  She excitedly showed me how to use the printer to put my photographs on my very own handmade paper as previously decribed in the last blog. Well, she totally twitterpaited me. See what more came of it:
The wood round on handmade paper is unbelievable to the touch.
What will become of these I have no idea,
but what I do know is... the Muse...
she totally bumped me off my carved stamp track.
Now, Seeds, Pods and Papavers, poor thing, waits for final approval.
It seems to need a little something more.
I loved carving the stamps, and printing them on the tea bags giving me that
luscious brown I love - especially as autumn draws near.
I was pleased that adding Golden Gel Medium over the back
didn't make it sticky like Modge Podge would have.
But there's just something about the light colored
 handmade paper printed sheets inside
that makes me pause.
And there's something about the back too
that needs a little more - hummm... but what?
And where is the Muse?
She's not helping at all!
She is off  printing more of my photographs on more handmade paper. 
This time the paper has cattail fluff in it. (Gorgeous, even if I do say so myself!) 

I have added some more tea bag pieces to the white areas on the back and cover since these pictures... mostly I am still waiting for the muse to return.
She will return, right?
If I am patient, right?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Handmade paper meets photographs

I got brave. I put a tiny amount of rubber cement on the edges of my handmade paper and placed them onto  a sheet of card stock. Then with hands folded in prayer ran the whole works through the printer. It worked!!! Soon pages of my photographs on HANDMADE PAPER were forming up on my work table.
I could hardly contain myself. I couldn't stop there! I had to create a book.

It is due in part to Velma Bolyard of Wake Robin blog.
She came out from New York to give a lecture
and workshop for the Puget Sound Books Artists in Tacoma. 
I so clearly remember the excitement with which she shared her joy
at being able to make every aspect of her books -
the dying, the paper making, the shifu spinning, the weaving, the binding.
She shared her knowledge and joy with others and they in turn shared later
all the beautiful papers and projects they had
made in and as a result of the workshop. 
May the ripple continue to travel outward.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seaweed Messages

Mother Nature left me a message on the beach. Help me figure it out.

I think I get the happy note,
but what do you think the rest means?
Maybe it's some sort of ancient calligraphy?
To think she did this without any hands...simply by pushing water around.
Isn't Mother Nature amazing!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hearts For Me!

I see hearts
in places where it seems impossible.
There's hardly anything there.

It usually starts with scruffy ones...
or ones that require you to use your imagination.
Some of the hearts have had a rough time.
Poor little heart - someone took a bite out of you!

Once you start noticing ... hearts start popping up right out of the sand.

Little hearts, big hearts, sometimes the hearts are made of wood.
I strongly believe they are messages from Mother Nature 
left here and there for me to find.
She speaks to us in such interesting ways.
Next blog I will share what she wrote to me on her sand tablet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sand between my toes

“I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.”

 When shared with a kindred spirit... who doesn't seem to mind me
stopping to photograph every
pile of sticks and stones or heap of bones.
But do you find it as peculiar as I do to see a bird shadow
 reflected off the bird bones?
 It is almost as strange as the ocean spelling out the number 4.

Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket? 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gifts for the Mowing Goddess

After a very, very long week without, the goddess was once again astride her mowing machine. She wasted no time in restoring order. It was hard to imagine that in such a short time how the edges could become blurred and the wildness take over. Some noticed her absence and had gifts for her to find as they knew it would be a long and challenging task.

She discovered the first gift as she raked the mole hill down. (No longer can she 'afford' to just race over them in the interest of time.) The delicate pattern caught her eye, made her heart sing. A gift from the earth!

The second gift was from the sky. So delicate and fine, sitting on top of the greenery. The breeze moving each little wisp in unison. Is it an owl feather?  See the delicate coloration and banding. If not an owl, what else could it be?

The last gift was from the maple tree who was obviously grateful the goddess was reducing the visual competition. Those nasty weeds had grown so tall even she, mature maple, looked smaller by comparison. It was obvious at first glance this was no ordinary robins nest that had been laid at maple's feet so gently. 

The cup stood above the straw making it very easy to see the details on the edge. Looks braided to me. And one could not miss the hole in the bottom.

I do know it is Native American tradition to put a hole in the basket or pot when the maker has died. This lead me to believe that perhaps there was more to this gifting than first thought.  Humm... pottery shard, feather of an owl (symbol of death), and weaver of clay and straw. Could this be a message concerning someone I know? It is best to be aware. And yet, each gift a lovely thing to behold. So the mowing goddess is grateful because she is and probably always will be a "collector."