“unhinged” at Revolution Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“unhinged” 2015, wood scrap, paint & found hardware ($500)

Definition of UNHINGED adjective un·hinged \-ˈhinjd\

upset, unglued; especially :  mentally deranged unhinged extremist>

First Known Use of UNHINGED 1652

Related to UNHINGED

Jules Fieffer made me do it.

Jules Fieffer illustrated The Phantom Tollbooth and there is a new book out about him “Out of Line”.  Here’s the link to a great NPR story about his creative life.  I just had to do a quick sketch after I heard his story.

http://www.npr.org/2015/05/19/407933533/in-out-of-line-the-many-many-acts-of-jules-feiffer

On his mother’s drawings, which are included in Out of Line

“My mother had to make the family living during the Depression. So she was at her drawing board all day long doing these fashion drawings. And she would look at store windows, dragging me along and pointing out details of clothing in Saks Fifth Avenue, at Bergdorf — I was screamingly bored! And thought she was doing this to torture me, and in fact I saw it as torture. And she would take them down to the rag trade on Seventh Avenue and go door to door to manufacturers where she had some customers, and they would pick a design and give her $3 for it, out of which they’d make a coat. So it required a lot of skill, none of which I appreciated until I became aged.”

lillibridge skirt and shoes drawing

coffee & cocktails

I had two pedestal bases from a restaurant supply store that needed tops. I frequently use pine table tops from Lowes for paintings.  They require minimum sanding and are glued together quite well and aren’t expensive.  I didn’t want to just seal these bare pieces of wood so I painted these simple stripes, distressed and sealed them with Vermont Natural Coatings (one of my very favorite products).  You use it like a urethane or a varnish.  It has low VOCs, dries quickly and leaves a beautiful finish.  I seal my paintings with this product and use different finish types (satin, semi-gloss, gloss) based on the type of piece.

So, in short order I have two new tables for my deck.  I love Vermont Natural Coatings.  I am not paid by them.  However, Vermont Natural Coatings if you would like me to do some rep work for you contact me through this site.

From Website: “We use whey protein, a byproduct of cheese making, to displace toxic ingredients found in traditional finishes.”

http://www.vermontnaturalcoatings.com/

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a guiding principle.

Whenever I’m about to start a big project I’ve discovered that having a “guiding principle” is really helpful.  I always need help narrowing my focus. So if I’m able to decide on a palette or a “feel” I’m generally more relaxed as the work gets more demanding.  I’m about to start designing my collection for the SEABA Strut Fashion Show in early September in Burlington, Vermont  I first need to submit my design ideas for my application.

This painting by Lynne Reed, a Burlington painter has stayed with me since I first saw it.  Lynne is part of a women’s small business support group (Levity Seven) that I am a part of and we recently had a “trunk show” together.  I think this painting and the other photos of mine I found are my design inspiration clothing line.  I love the brush strokes, texture and palette.  These colors have a “mid-century” vibe that I adore.  So, here’s to a guiding principle in whatever part of your life it’s needed.

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This week in my studio—so far…

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My Grandmother’s funky purse from the 60s.  It needs some repair.

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I like my space messy and yet, having a few clean horizontal surfaces feels like big progress.

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My son, Ellis helped me clean the studio today to earn the change from a $20 on our coffee run.  I think he got a pretty awesome hourly rate.

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What are we teaching our kids?

This week has been thematic for me and it started with an On Point/NPR show Monday morning while I was working in my studio.  The show was dedicated to depression, anxiety and suicide clusters among teens in America.  It highlighted the unbelievable pressure put on our teens now.  We’ve created a culture of expectation that we don’t even come close to as the standard for ourselves. We’re also living in a time when we are medicating kids at an alarming rate just to get them through all of these crazy demands. It’s unsustainable and time for a major paradigm shift.

The show highlighted both the pressure of affluent areas with a highly educated population and it discussed the suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota (I’m a South Dakota native).  I found it quite interesting that these two populations on either side of the spectrum share something quite alarming.  Extreme pressure on one end and lack of academic pressure, rigor and opportunity on the other.  The suicide rate on the reservation among teens is 4 times the national statistic.  Devastating.

Here’s the link to the show:

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/05/04/teen-suicides-palo-alto-south-dakota-pressure

This got me thinking about my three teenagers (ages 19 and 15 year-old-twins) and my expectations of them. If I was held to the standard that is out there culturally for them I don’t think I would get out of bed.  I want to create an environment that allows a lot of time for discussion about character…there will be resistance but they just might thank me later…maybe in their late 20s.  This photo was the day my girls said goodbye to their college bound big brother.

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Here’s what we’re expecting of our teens:

• Have perfect grades in every subject (not just the classes that really interest them or what courses they possess natural ability).  I basically majored in English in High School.

• Be good athletes (often whether they enjoy the sport or not).

• Be fit and attractive (to take gorgeous selfies).

• Be so passionate about something and develop expertise—distinguishing themselves among their peers.  (This is rare and why we hear these stores on 60 minutes.)

• Play an instrument, a talented vocalist or an actor.

• Volunteer and be dedicated community servants (looks great on college applications).

• Know what career they want (this is crazy to be asking kids—they don’t know about all possibilities out there, let alone should they be expected to share with the world their intentions).

In sixth grade we were suppose to draw a picture of the profession we desired and cut the face out inserting one of our wallet-sized school photos.  I thought it was crazy then and much to my mother and teacher’s chagrin I drew a Skid Row sort of bum.  Sorry, Mrs. Tolstedt and Mom.  My drawing did, however exhibit my artistic ability and smart-ass inclinations (which have mostly served me quite well in my adult life). My drawing was my image in fingerless gloves, a black bowler hat and a bottle in a brown paper bag.  I wish I had it to show you.

I am oddly proud of that drawing because I didn’t know then and still don’t entirely know now what I want to “BE”…and it’s OK.

This morning the other information that popped onto my radar is New York columnist/author, David Brooks’ new book, “The Road to Character”.  His book is about development of our inner lives in a era of heightened competition, sound bites & selfies.

What if our expectations & conversations with our teens focused on their inner lives, manners, kindness, generosity, purpose & empathy?

You can subscribe to David Brooks’ website and become a part of the discussion.

http://theroadtocharacter.com/

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Here is an excerpt from the book.

the road to character

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please leave comments.

Best,

Lisa sig