A Mosaic of Ideas About Life, Art & Superfluous Adornment.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Teacher Becomes the Student

"We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master."~Maria Montessori
I absolutely love having classes at my shop. Not only does it give me the opportunity to learn new techniques (classes from guest artists, obviously), but also to see the outcomes of other people's imagination. Most of the time I learn that I absolutely don't know everything there is to know about much of anything, and that's actually quite liberating. Most people have a great innate sense of order and design, and need only a bit of guidance in a certain direction to find they could create all along. Sometimes all we need is a bit of confidence to try new things. Aren't I the lucky one to witness all that?
My wonderful friend, Terry, working hard on her torn paper mosaic. She is a beautiful artist of her own merit. And like most artist's, doesn't think what she does is ever perfect; but you have to stop somewhere.

This beautiful Sunflower mosaic from a "beginning" student.

And, the beginnings of a gorgeous angel from a more advanced student and beautiful artist.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Industry of Beauty

"If you have an unnatural haircolor you won't get a job. If you don't wear make up you won't get a date. If  you don't have a straight smile with straight teeth people won't like you. If your face isn't symmetrical you won't do well in school. If you have a big nose you'll get picked last for the team. WHO CARES?"
I bought this self-portrait from a very talented young artist (a friend of my niece), Stephanie Joki. I thought it was perfect to hang in a salon, because even though it is my job to help people look their best, I think it is even more important to help them feel their best. And if that is just accepting and loving them as they are that day then I feel I've had a good day.
When the day comes for you to work on your self-portrait, I hope you capture your "True Self", because that is how the rest of us see and love you. When I get into a "tearing myself apart" mode, I remember how much I adore each of my family members and friends for exactly the person they are, no changes. That reminds me to be easy on my judgement of myself.

Monday, February 22, 2010

OH NO, I Found Ebay!

I have heard that "One man's junk is another man's Treasure".
This is one small load of junk, I mean jewelry, that I received today from Ebay. Not too bad, I found a few pieces that I think I can use in my art, and or, to take apart to sell for parts. I have jewelry classes at the shop, and plan to sell beads, etc. in the future. I had wondered to myself where I could get not just one piece at a time, but a box, or so. Ebay makes it pretty easy for you, by having a header (http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p4031.m38.l1311&_nkw=costume+jewelry+lot&_sacat=See-All-Categories) at the top of their page that says: (LOTS).
I surfed for about 2 hours in one night bidding on several lots. Being a novice, I was outbid 14 times before I won something, and then, before I knew it, I had won 5 lots of jewelry! 
Fortunately, I had made sure I had enough money in my checking account before I started bidding. That could be a dangerous thing, because you get so caught up in the moment, place a bid, and then move on to the next lot thinking that your latest bid couldn't possibly win.
Shipping is sometimes the biggest cost, so one needs to be aware of those costs before bidding. Now, having received my third box I realize most vendors care more about getting rid of their junk, not in how it is received. My first box at least came in 2 gallon plastic bags inside the box, the other 2 were just dumped in a USPS box, sealed up, and shipped off. (Not so good when the box may be full of loose beads).
My Ebay days are not over, it was too much fun, but next time I will be more aware how many bids I have going.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scenes From A Small Town Gallery

"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself."~Alan Alda

Mosaic cross that I made for the local Catholic Church several years ago as an Easter display, hanging  mosaic light catchers, cement leaves , African Art in the form of metal birds and Serpentine Stone Bird Baths, and a beautiful stained glass "Pharmacy Window" that I originally purchased to hang by my salon .
Various artworks are available: Nita Engle watercolor, Sunny McKaig acrylic Frogs, James Tanis Stained Glassworks, African Serpentine Stone Sculptures, Etc.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Here are a few shots of cement leaves made in the studio:

Hypertufa: An Excitable Container?

A wonderful client showed me the latest edition of the Martha Stewart Living, which included instructions on how to make these cement pots (see link above). This is fantastic because now I can play with cement all winter. I have had classes on casting cement leaves, but was limited to Michigan leaf growing weather (though, I have thought about having my Floridian sister mail me some elephant ears).  I'm not exactly sure what 'hypertufa' means, but I am excited to try these in my studio. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Works @ Collins Fine Art Gallery

"Poppies" Mosaic in the front display window of Collins Fine Art Gallery, 
146 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids, MI.
My husband Installed this for me for the 2009 ArtPrize Competition, and it remains in the window!

Paul Collins' work is nothing short of remarkable. I am giddy with amazement that his gallery is  hosting some of my pieces. They have loads of beautiful works of Art very deserving of your visit! Check out his website: http://www.collinsart.com/index.asp?i=207

Here are a few of my "Wallflower" Collection currently @ the Gallery.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."~ H.L. Mencken
    Blessed, blessed me to have parents who triumphed in love, imagination, and intelligence,
and after almost 59 years are still going strong.  As their child, that is the most beautiful Valentine I could ever receive.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Superfluous Adornment

My father (on the left) purchasing a small town drugstore in the 60's. One of my favorite drugstore stories is about "spend so much money and get this jewelry free". A very well dressed man came in to the store to get his prescription one day and my father told him about this jewelry promotion. The man sternly told him, "My wife has more than enough 'superfluous adornment'". Well...have a sweet Valentine's Day, and may you all be overwhelmed with a bit of superfluous adornment!

Laborious Mosaic

"There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic."~ Anais Nin
    Thank goodness for this universal grace. I think my head might otherwise explode. Living each day for itself and not worrying about the past, or tomorrow, is difficult for any of us. Think of each day as a fragment of your life's mosaic. Blessed Be.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Movies about Following Your Dreams

Here's another great movie I watched this weekend for any Robert Pattinson fans. A coming of age with lots of angst, comedy, and dare I say it, Robert Pattinson. My 15 year old watched it with me and almost couldn't get past his long hair, but eventually settled in and enjoyed it. There comes a time to make a choice to take responsibility for your life, and past regressions need to be purged in order to grow. Robert's character, Arthur, finds a book called, "It's Not Your Fault", and proceeds to work through all the chapters (with the author of the book invited to his house to help as his therapist). Another diamond in the rough.

"Local Color"

This weekend I saw the movie "Local Color" and was captivated by its story about a young painter spending the summer with a "Master" painter, and learning about more than how to put brushstrokes on a canvas. I would love to get the script to this movie; It was beautifully written. Check it out for yourself!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Temple Grandin


"Thinking in Pictures"

I had the pleasure of watching HBO's movie, "Temple Grandin". This is a story of an amazing woman who walked through many difficult doors, literally and figuratively, to gain great respect in her life and chosen field. I had read her book "Thinking in Pictures" several years ago to try and understand my own son, who is also a great visual thinker. I would recommend reading her books to understand more about Autism, to realize that it is not a disease, just a different way of thinking. Visual people need more processing time to go through their "rolodex" of pictures in their mind. The best analogy I read (from the book "Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World") was that most of us take in information verbally, or thinking of the way information loads on a computer, the written words load very quickly, but pictures (for those with dial-up connections especially) may take much longer to load. For Visual thinkers it is just the opposite. The pictures load lightening fast, but the words that go with the pictures may take terribly longer to appear on their "mind screen". Temple describes this in great detail in many of her books.
Everyone should read at least one book about visual thinkers. With a skyrocketing autism rate we may have more shared experiences with someone affected by this phenomenon. They may be quirky and thus get tormented in school and life but my brother ( a visual thinker who runs a successful business) told me once that the "A" students who basically cake walked through school are being hired by the "C" and "D" students who run the businesses. This overgeneralization loosely translated means that many students who felt like failures in school are critical thinkers with a history of problem solving which can help guide them through the maze of the adult world of jobs. School is a good place for verbal learners. In my perfect world, children would be placed in a classroom suited for their learning styles early on, thus nurturing their given talents from the time they start school. But that subject is for another day. Peace.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blogs as "Superfluous Adornment"?

"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes it's just easier to put other people's words into words, that, or we need better writers. What I know is that this is my first blog; other than the few notices on my website: www.aworkofartstudio.com. This seemed an easier canvas than my static website template.
I have hesitated to join this forum for time restraints. FaceBook, Twitter seemed to be better suited for my state of "snippet" attention span. I don't claim to be a writer, but it does seem to help me unwind when filling a page with the million or so thoughts plaguing my brain per day.
We'll see. This might be my new meditation. In the mean time, here's a few pics of my latest "Wallflowers" mosaics. Enjoy.
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