my creative life July-December 2016

July:  I worked on my coursework for my positive psychology class.  I created a handbag out of a friend’s damaged Audi seat.  I was generously given a huge amount of fabric that was just beautiful to work with for the SEABA fashion show coming up.  I read a lot about the psychology of geography—the study of how we behave in relation to our environment. I traveled to South Dakota to visit my family and was lucky enough to get to shoot some photographs at the Burke Stampede Rodeo. Oh, cowboys…

August:  I sketched, sewed, painted and made handbags…a big blitz of work.  Using the company SPOONFLOWER I got photographs printed onto fabric. My daughter, Lucy wore a skirt I made with an abandoned farmhouse photo I shot in South Dakota on it.  I used rust prints Elizabeth Bunsen created with Nebraska license plates to create fabric as well.  Burlington master goldsmith— Jane Frank designed jewelry worn in the show—the pieces were such a beautiful compliment to the clothes. 

September was a blur: The fashion show was entirely consuming the first 10 days of the the month.  I love to be in flow and entirely focused on one thing.  Deadlines are my jam.  However, this year I also needed to create my final project for my Positive Psychology course at the same time . I graduated and got to spend a week at Kripalu in Lenox, Mass with a remarkable bunch of people from all around the world.  Later in the month my husband and I went to the Champlain Valley Classic Car show, taking photos and talking to classic car enthusiasts was just great after being so busy.

October: I turned 50 on the 12th.  I was taken to Martha’s Vineyard by friends.  My husband surprised me by getting my folks, my sister and my brother-in-law to Vermont for a long weekend to celebrate with me.  That was remarkable AND he threw a party complete with my friends putting on a musical review, poetry, singing songs and making me feel so unbelievably grateful for my life.  I took a few of my favorite images ever and layered more photos. Jeff and I dressed as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo for Halloween.

November:  I traveled to Burke, South Dakota.  I took photos of Herrick that made current and former Herrick residents very happy and remarkably nostalgic.  I got to hang out with my great nephew, Liam (oh, and the rest of my clan).  I created digital images of my own planet based on a conversation with my son.  The planet New Vagus is based on the vagus nerve—the power center of our nervous system.  I wrote.  I cried when Leonard Cohen died.

December:  I made leather pendants for gifts.  I kept playing with the image of a South Dakota two-lane road, layering the photo and playing with the visuals of memory.  I created a line of scarves with my images on them.  I will post the link soon if you are interested in ordering one.

January 2017 is off to an interesting start.  I’m cleaning out the basement—sorting through letters, photos, the kids clothes I’ve saved, toys, books and all of the things I can’t believe I now have to deal with.  I’m learning a lot about myself and why things seemed so very important to me.

Turning 50 is an interesting age to take a look back, look ahead, try to stay in the moment and not get too stuck in any one place.

collaboration is pretty cool.

Elizabeth Bunsen and I are both prairie girls.  Elizabeth from rural Nebraska and me, as you might know, South Dakota. We wanted to design a collection that reflects our shared sense of interior geography. Our efforts will walk down the runway during Burlington, Vermont’s annual fashion show—STRUT.  The show is a part of a three day art celebration in Burlington, Vermont…SOUTH END ART HOP.

Elizabeth creates amazing rust prints on paper.  I’m a graphic designer.  I wanted to design some of our textiles for the show.  I ordered these from SPOONFLOWER.  I think they came out beautifully.  The fabric wasn’t too expensive and they were pretty quick on the turn around.  I can’t wait to work with these prints.

RUST  PRINTS + ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR = PERSONALIZED TEXTILES

IMG_9178

Elizabeth is getting ready for the Art Hop in her studio now as well. It’s sort of a kooky, busy, creative time in Burlington, Vermont’s South End. We will be using some of these pieces that she has ecodyed with eucalyptus and indigo.

IMG_9180

I will be making handbags for the show out of leather scrap.  I love the way Elizabeth’s fabric floats next to the leathers.  I’ll keep posting more of our work as it’s available.  This is by far my favorite creative time of the year and working with Elizabeth’s creations is bringing some additional energy that’s really welcomed.

IMG_9071

I’ll be doing a real blitz of long days in my very hot studio starting August 27th.  If you stop by to visit—an icy, unsweetened iced tea from Cumberland Farms is always welcomed.

 

The South End Art Hop’s STRUT is on September 10th

Here’s the link for tickets.  Both shows usually sell out early.

http://seaba.com/art-hop/strut/

Process calms me down. Thank you, Willa.

Last week I was sketching and I left out colored pencils, big paper and a cup of coffee with a paint brush.  I knew my daughter, Willa would be unable to resist the supplies and would have to make something.  This painting is what she created.

Her eyes are so sorrow filled—as we all are about the events in the last month in America.  This girl clearly has “Well, you know what kind of eyes she got…a girl with far away eyes”  You can thank The Rolling Stones for the lyrics.

IMG_8741

THE ROLLING STONES  •  Album/Some Girls  •  Song/Far Away Eyes

These are strange days indeed.  Sometimes the news, the violence, the same excuses over and over from politicians are simply too much.  I have to calm myself down and process is usually how I do that. My daughter helped me realize this.

I made this bag out of a friend’s stained leather from her Audi seat repair.   I know this bag (inspired by Frida Khalo and Calamity Jane) isn’t curing the ills of the world, sparking the necessary dialogue or starting a revolution.

However in my small way, it’s an act that represents taking the time to slow down, get thoughtful during this time of chaos and try to understand what my part might be in all that’s going on in the world.

IMG_8751    IMG_8755    IMG_8762

PS Chuck don’t show the post to Colleen.  It’s a gift. She can keep her auto paperwork in the stained seat reincarnated. 🙂

an experiment in leather

I have increasingly become inspired by usable art.  I have a lot of leather scrap at my studio and I’ve made bags, jewelry and clothes, but I’ve never experimented with housewares.  This was basically a sketch of what I would like to create.

A word of caution: if you are going to “bake or cure” your leather you want to do so when no one is around and the windows can be open.  It smelled pretty funky, however by baking it in the oven when it was damp it did somewhat achieve what I hoped it would do.  The piece held the shape I intended.  This leather was too floppy though.  I have to work with leather that has more structure.  I will be doing more of this in the near future. I’m always in favor of some experimentation.

“Learn to fail or fail to learn.” —Tal Ben-Shahar.

IMG_7686 IMG_7687 IMG_7688 IMG_7689 IMG_7691

IMG_7723

a south dakota road trip in leather

I made this bag for a group show opening this Friday night at SEABA (South End Arts and Business Association) in Burlington, Vermont.  I like the idea of this piece being usable…although it has a few structural challenges for heavy use.  I’ll get it right next time…oh, how I love the process of trying to get it right.

IMG_5998_2_3_4_4I used the road image I love to work with for my muse.  You might be tired of all the ways I’ve played with this image…sorry, I’m not nearly done yet.  Too me this photo represents what I’ve always loved.  Independence.  Adventure.  Spaciousness.  Freedom.  As well as beef jerky, bad road coffee, Hostess® products, potato chips, loud music and infinite possibilities.

When I finished this bag I had a strange thought—I wished that Calamity Jane and/or Frida Kahlo had bequeathed it to me.  The road is always an inspiration to me and so are those two bad ass women.

I used a bit of ecodyed organza from Elizabeth Bunsen on the bottom to lend some contrast.  I love the lightness of the fabric with the leather and heavy stitching.

IMG_7607 IMG_7604_2

IMG_7606

IMG_7658  IMG_7662

IMG_7664

IMG_7667

POP UP SHOP this Friday & Saturday

levity pop up square

This weekend is a Pop Up Shop at Maglianero Cafe in Burlington, Vermont. I will have a few one of a kind clutches and evening bags for sale. Stop by if you get a chance.  With all of these talented women selling art, fused glass, jewelry, tote bags made from coffee sacks and ideas for garden design, there’s sure to be something to check out for everyone.

Here’s a peak at a few of the clutches.  I think you would have as much fun carrying them as I’ve had making them.  They really are a piece of art to carry your phone, cash/cards and a lipstick when you’re out on the town.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

photo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA