Monday, June 29, 2009

The Wild Life

Ok, back when I was a teenager the "wild life" would include all kinds of things that I would never tell my parents about (although they always knew). But, now I am amazed at all of the real wild life that is around me every day. The studio is a perfect place for nature lovers (and both John and I are).

We were busy at the studio working all weekend, but every time we turned around there was another interesting creature. We woke up Sat. to see a cute little Bambi, still with it's wobbly legs. Didn't see Mama, but we knew she was watching us.
Later that evening we took Biscuit for a walk and came across a box turtle in the drive way. Biscuit was very curious but stayed her distance.


This guy was posing for me.




And then while we were taking a break from our artwork we came across this beetle. I felt like someone was watching me all day!
I can't help but start to think of all the forms, colors and patterns that are in nature. My mind starts going in a hundred different directions and I come up with a hundred new ideas that I can do with my art. Wouldn't you want to see that beetle about 6' tall made out of concrete that you could climb on? Or the turtle made out of stained glass?
Alright, I need to stop coming up with new projects and finish some that I have started. Who knows what we will see next? And what great projects it will inspire!

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Banners & Links

I am starting a new free banner/link exchange. Send me a 125 x 125 pixel picture and I will be glad to add it to my blog and/or my website if you add my link to your website or blog. contact@liquidambarstudio.com I think that this is a great way that we can help each other. With billions and billions of sites, the more links you have the better chance of being seen - plus it is free!


RavenaRelics is the first to join. Make sure that you check out Vicki's site. She is a great artist and is a conservationist to boot.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crickets and Grasshoppers

Today was Summer camp. From 12:30 to 3:00 pm, John and I taught twenty middle school girls about crickets and grasshoppers. Talk about a zoo...


I am not sure how John gets me into these things.


First they each received a petri dish with two live crickets, one male and one female. Second, they were taught all of the parts and the girls looked at them under the microscope.

The girls then painted cricket boxes so that they could take their crickets home for good luck. But, while some were painting others were dissecting giant grasshoppers. We also fed some to the frogs to show them the food chain.


Having 20 girls in one room is not good. But, having 20 girls, with gross stuff is really not good. I am just kidding; all in all they did well, and I am sure that this is something that they will remember.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Too many fish

Some times I wonder if I have too many fish in the frying pan. I know for many artists we tend to spread ourselves too thin in different areas. But, I get bored if I have to do the same thing over and over again. I am always wanting to try new things, new techniques, new mediums. However, it did feel good to concentrate on one thing this past weekend (ok a few things).

John and I had a working weekend at the studio. He threw about twenty pieces and made a few hand built pieces also (all with a broken hand). And I was able to make two large hand coiled pieces and throw a few as well. I also worked on making some more cast glass pieces (like the one shown in a past blog) while I was waiting for the clay to dry out some. And played around with casting some pieces (thanks to my mom's molds).

But the best thing is that we were able to just work at our own pace, making the pieces that we wanted to work on, taking naps in the middle of the day and eating out on the deck for every meal. We do not have a phone, internet, or a tv at the studio, and we don't miss them at all!

We also, enjoy the wild life that is around the studio, deer, hawks, humming birds, snakes, toads, and beautiful moths.

If you want to visit the studio, we would love to have you!
Liquidambar Studio of Art
116 Hickory Lane
Pittsboro, NC 27312
919-414-4812 (send a text if you can)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Actually working!

Today John and I actually went to the studio and did some work! With graduation, summer school, baseball and everything else, we have not been able to produce much work. John was able to throw a bunch of pots while I worked on two hand coiled pieces. About a 1/4 of the way on each one.


People do not understand why I would want to coil my pots rather than throw them on the wheel. The coiled pot takes many, many, many hours to make, but I can throw a pot on the wheel in a couple of minutes (of course there is the trimming and other finish work.) Plus, I can not sell my pieces for 3 or 4 times that of a thrown pot just because it takes me longer.


Probably my biggest reason for coiling is that I do take time with the piece. Each one is unique. Each one has a story. Sometimes I don't know what I am going to make until it starts to form. I may do some sketches, but the piece I begin never ends up like my sketch. It is also very therapeutic for my mind (not my hands). Often while working on a piece I kinda "space out" or go into a kinda trans. My mind wonders, not taking in what is going on around me. Most of the time I do not even listen to music, because I found that I wasn't listening and would miss the whole CD.


We also took some pictures while we were working. All of the shows want to see a picture of the artist to put with our concept statement. We didn't have any of John and the only ones of me I look like I am mad at the world (probably because John is taking pictures at 10pm after I have been working all day.)

I think he likes it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pool tables and tattoos

Two separate things - pool tables and tattoos, but wanted to say a couple things about them both.

A couple of years ago my son wanted to get a pool table for Christmas. It is not like something that you can just pack up and hide in the closet so it was a huge decision and investment. But since I love to spoil my kids (and the fact that my husband and I both really wanted one) we ended up getting one.

We ended up moving all of the furniture out of the "dining" room to have a game room. For the past year and a half we have had a great time with it. We don't play every day, but it brings the family together. Even played a few games with my Mom while she was here this past weekend. I think she would beat us all if she could practice a little!

And of course, I have to mention all the great things that you can so with/on a pool table ..... I know what you are thinking (I will let you fill in the blanks). But today I was working on my daughter's quilt and it was a perfect place to lay out the material and measure. (And NO I did not cut any fabric on it.) My kids say I take over everything with my work.









Tattoos -

I have to say that I have always wanted a tattoo. Doesn't every one at some point? Today my 17 yr old (18 in a month) asked if she could get one. Some of her aunts and cousins have them and it is kinda a "family" thing at the beach each year. Now that she is turning 18 and heading off to college she thought this would be a good way to celebrate.

To be honest I don't like the idea. I know, I know, I am an artist and should like that kind of thing. And I do.. on other people. My husband and I are even including a chapter in our book about body adornment (tattoos, piercings, tribal rituals). It wasn't until I was "older" that I realized that I wouldn't want one. It is only because I believe the human body is so beautiful. It doesn't matter the skin color, size, or shape, it is all beautiful. I would just hate to see someone that has such perfect skin to make a mark on it. I also understand it is about making a statement or being an individual and expressing yourself. Again, there are other ways.
I guess I have been thinking more about it lately, because my husband and I taught a class on the "Nude Figure in Nature" and we were both the models for it. More than a thousand pictures were taken by the students and they showed every little blemish, cellulite, and wrinkle that you can imagine! Thank God for Photoshop!!!!!!!

It also made me realize how time moves so quickly. I remember when I was 18 and thought that a tattoo would be cool to get (never got one because the guys I always dated didn't want me to - they had them, but not me). And how I remember thinking about little old ladies with their tattoos all stretched out of shape and dropping and thought that would never be me.
It all seems like just a couple years ago. But, now I have the sun spots (not age spots) and starting to see the lines around my eyes and the dark circles that I can't cover up any more. I never had a tattoo but now I feel it would be one more blemish that I would want fixed by Photoshop!
Just my opinion.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Always Experimenting

As artists we are always experimenting with new techniques and ideas. Some will fail and some actually turn out better than we thought. Sometimes a part will turn out, but to finish it many hours of thought will have to go into it.

I make a lot of cast glass pieces that I make into jewelry (a girl can never have too much). But lately I have been experimenting or trying to teach myself how to use cast resin. The results are good, but for some reason it all reminds me of the play jewelry I had when I was five. The texture and dull shine, just are not the same as glass. Plus, I am not too excited about the toxic smells and waste that is involved.

I have purchased several resin molds that I have been using for my glass shapes. But, I am getting tired of using the same ones over and over again. I decided to test some of the other resin molds to see if they would work for the glass as well.


Only two firings and I am very excited about the possibilities with these "new" molds. One is an oval earring mold. They are pretty large and with the glass they end up too heavy, but they make great pendants (plus I can make two at a time!) The second is actually an old plaster mold that my daughter had. It has several small animal shapes. Again, too heavy for earrings, but they make cute pendants.

The animal shapes I can attach the Aanraku bails that I typically use. But, on the large ovals the top is too thin to attach a bail. My husband suggested wrapping with wire (duh, why didn't I think of that?) So while my son was soldering some glass pieces, I wrapped the glass in tinned copper and soldered the back to finish the ends. I am very happy with the way they turned out and cannot wait to try out some more color combinations and some different molds!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Anatomy and Physiology


With my mother here for the weekend for my daughter's graduation we have had cake and ice cream for almost every meal.
It make me keep thinking about all of the adventures my daughter will have after starting college, like eating cold pizza for lunch and ice cream for dinner. She wants to be a Biology major, following in the footsteps of my husband. So, hopefully she will know better than to eat like that all of the time!


I made a new pair of earrings to help celebrate her chosen major. The earrings are shells with an image of a hand (on one) and a brain (on the other). I transferred the image and the iridescent of the shell shines through the image creating a really neat effect. They turned out so well I want to make a bunch more with other body parts.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Time for Graduation



I cannot believe that my daughter is graduating from high school today! Time has a way of passing by too quickly.

For her graduation I am making her a quilt (which still isn't finished, but at least I have the materials together). Her favorite color is orange, so this has orange in it. The picture shows the pieces cut, but I am making a "9-block" quilt. Not that I know anything about quilting (this is only my second one). My Mom told me that is what it is called.


What is so crazy is that it feels like just a months ago I was making her a doll. After she was born I wanted to make something that would be a memento of her birth. At the time I didn't know what color her hair would be (black when she was born), so the color I picked out was the color of my nieces hair - a dark red auburn. The dress she is wearing is the dress that we brought her home from the hospital in. I remember it being so big on such a tiny baby.
I am not so "crafty" after 18 years, settling more into clay and glass work. But, somehow something that is sewn with special fabrics seems to be more personal, traditional, and something that you can cuddle with.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tjaps = Chops Two new ones!









Last Christmas John tried to buy my two Tjaps (pronounced chops).
Tjaps are approximately 50 year old tools that have been made and used on the island of Java (Indonesian) for over a century. They are handmade of copper strips, carefully cut and shaped and soldered into fabulous shapes and patterns. They are used by Batik artists in Java by dipping them into hot wax, shaking off the excess, and then stamping the wax onto the cloth. Aligning the edges of each consecutive stamp creates patterns which run the length and width of the fabric. (taken from Dharma)
They are so popular with artists and collectors that as soon as someone receives a shipment they almost immediately run out. And that is what happened this past Christmas. I found two that I liked, but by the time John got online on Dharma Trading Company (http://www.dharmatrading.com/) they had sold out of 350 of them!

Luckily, I receive their emails and was notified when more came in. That time we didn't waste any time in buying a couple. There were so many to choose from, but I settled on two. One is a lizard on a leaf and the second is a fox with stars.








I cannot wait to start using these. Both Nancy (my oldest) and I took a fabric design class in Kenya, so I want to put all that to use. So many ideas and so little time!!!!!

The next picture is of Nancy (2006) in Kenya working on one of her designs.




Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Table cloth and napkins on bed and my first quilt!

I lot of people do not think that sewing or quilting is an art form - but I do! It is very different than when I am working with glass or clay, but it is all a creative process. There are quilt museums: so it has to be art!
My daughter gave me a table cloth and four napkins for Mother's Day. She knew they didn't match my kitchen, but she just thought that they were so pretty (and so do I)- a black and white design. They sat for several weeks on the kitchen counter. I kept hoping that I would be inspired somehow and make them work in the kitchen. But - nothing.



Then I found out that my Mom was coming for a visit (it has been several years since she has been here). I started thinking about the "guest" room. Which is really just a single bed, computer work area, and work-out room and it has all mismatched furniture. It sounds like a perfect project for one of those home improvement projects.


So, I took the table cloth upstairs and put it on the bed. It fit perfectly!!! Then I took two napkins and sewed white material to the backs and made pillows. The other two I sewed together to make a third pillow. I could have had four, but I ran out of batting, so this was the best solution.


All of this started me on a black and white theme for the room. I ended up buying some pre-cut squares and a "jelly-roll" of material off of Ebay. And I made my very first quilt! It is small - a lap quilt, but still it is a quilt. It only took me a couple of days to finish it.





My daughter will start college in the fall and I finally figured out what to make for her: a new quilt for her dorm! It has been started, but I am having trouble finding material to match what I have started. I was hoping to have it finished by Friday, but I don't think I am going to make the dead line.

Don't for get to check out my website: www.liquidambarstudio.com and my items on Etsy http://www.kittysartandstuff.etsy.com/

Monday, June 8, 2009

My First Blog!!!

WELCOME TO LIQUIDAMBAR STUDIO OF ART!

I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to start a blog. But, hopefully this will bring Liquidambar Studio of Art closer to fellow artists. It will be a place where artists can comment and post their ideas and where the artists of Liquidambar Studio can share what goes on in the daily life of being an artist.


Liquidambar Studio of Art is located on the Haw River in Pittsboro, North Carolina surrounded by huge beautiful trees, mostly the Sweet Gum. The scientific name of the Sweet Gum is Liquidambar styraciflua, hence the name of the studio.


Let me introduce you to the artists: John is "our leader". He works mostly with black and white photography and clay. I am second in command and work with all mediums! Nancy is our illustrator and silk screener. Clint is currently working with throwing clay on the wheel. And I cannot forget Biscuit - she is the "deer protector".

If you would like to come by the studio send me a text or call 919-414-4812. We would love to have you for a visit!

Please visit our website: www.liquidambarstudio.com

I can't wait to add more to the blog!!!

Love of Mushrooms

Nature is Art  So, my love for mushrooms is fairly new (a couple of years).  I first started taking a few pictures of mushrooms around our p...