Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's All About the Presentation

Isn't she a lovely Edwardian lady?

Her image was the basis of some clever packaging I recently created for some feather and bead hair ornaments.

I have a group of friends that I see just once a year, at the Somewhere in Time weekend held at Grand Hotel. We dress in out Edwardian finest and just have a wonderful time. I always try to create little gifts that are both beautiful and useful to creating that vintage style we crave.

This year I was lucky enough to find some feather picks; I added a hairpin, covered the base in black velvet ribbon and added just a bit of black beaded embellishment - hair ornaments need to light weight.

But how to present them?

I printed my lady on card stock, cut a couple small slits, added the hairpin and I had it - packaging that protected the feathers, showed how it should be worn, was attractive and had space for a personal note - perfect!

My friends were thrilled and so am I, as I see so many possibilities for this type of functional, attractive and inexpensive packaging.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm Featured!!!

I want to give a HUGE thanks to Felicia Kramer at Another Bright Idea, for choosing to feature my work in her new series of interviews with Michigan artists, check it out here

And I must say - I LOVE the logo!!! (Yes, I'm just a little excited about this.)

AND, another bit of news, Felicia's interview includes information on my very first giveaway - a gift certificate for $40, to be used in my Etsy shop, Backward Glances, so go check it out!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall = Apples

Apple pie, apple fritters, and especially apple cider - fresh made and NOT pasteurized, at a local cider mill!

We have apple trees here on Mackinac, the long lasting remnants of a time when there were farms here on the Island - can you imagine trying to farm such rocky "soil"?
Apple trees (and lilacs), seemingly out of place in the woods or fields are the sure sign of long ago farmstead, they are amazingly resilient.

Here's one of my all time favorite apple recipes; it's true fall comfort food:

Apple Custard Cake:

1 stick butter, plus more for the pan

1/2 cup flour, plus more for the pan

1 vanilla bean

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

4 large apples

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk at room temperature

powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9" square pan with foil, then smear with a think layer of butter. Dust with flour, turn the pan over and tap lightly to remove excess flour.

Melt the stick of butter in a small saucepan. In a bowl, whisk or beat together the eggs and half the sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half the long way; scrape the seeds into the egg/sugar mixture and put the pod in with the melted butter; let the butter cool while you prepare the batter and the apples. continue to beat the eggs and sugar, adding the remaining sugar a little at a time, until thick. Peel, quarter and core the apples, then trim their ends and slice thinly.

Remove the vanilla pod from the butter and beat the butter into the batter, the mixture should form a ribbon when dropped from a spoon. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir it into the egg/sugar mixture alternately with the milk. Add the apples and stir them in well, every piece of apple must be coated with batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and even out the batter.

Bake for 45 minutes, then rotate the pan, bake an additional 25 minutes until the cake pulls away from the pan and is brown on top. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes, then serve long slices, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

We have been trying to eat more seasonally and locally; I just picked eggplant, zucchini, green beans and peppers from my own garden, here on Mackinac - yes, on October 23th!
Right now, we're enjoying apples and I hope you are too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And the Cycle Continues...October

A maple in full flaming color is indeed a vision of autumn, but look closely at just a single fallen leaf, caught in a wildflower gone to seed - how many colors do you see?

I chose this leaf as my representation for October in my larger piece "Cycling".

All the "Cycling" pieces are meant to show the vegetation up close, intimately - depicting an entire tree was not going to work for this project.

Back to all those colors: there are more than 30 different colors of beads in this leaf, and the color of each individual bead is influenced by the beads surrounding it and yet I was unable to completely capture the shimmering colors of that fallen leaf...but at least I tried!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Grand Traverse Light

It's always a beautiful drive from Traverse City up to Northport, traveling along the lake and through the orchards and vineyards. But in the fall, it's exceptionally lovely, a kaleidoscope of brilliant color.

Out on the very tip of the peninsula is the Grand Traverse Light House, built in 1858. The building is open to the public, as it is no longer an active light, having been replaced by an automated tower on the grounds.

The views from the point are endless, in both directions.

But I had the most fun taking the photos of the milkweed pods, which have split and are spreading their fluffy seed upon the winds.

Aren't they beautiful?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Found It

I responded to a request for Bead Journal Project photos to be used in an article about the project in Creative Beading an Australian publication and was selected to be included.

It's taken me weeks to track down a copy of the issue, but I finally found one in Traverse City.

Well, I'm disappointed.

The article was NOT about the Bead Journal project and my work was simply included as "filler photos" on an article entitled "Beading In The Cooler Months". While the photos are labeled with my name, there is NO contact information provided.

What do you think - was I used or am I being too sensitive?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Transcending Time

I'm so excited; this promises to be a great show!

Bill Murcko is an incredible portrait artist, his current series involves the fashions of the past, in a variety of Island settings - his work is inspired by the great portrait artists of the past, especially John Singer Sargent.

My work is based on taking the traditional techniques from a variety of eras and reinterpreting them, making pieces that are modern and wearable - but always showing their origins.

Bill and I both choose to honor the past, but we always give the techniques our own point of view and we both expect our work to be treasured in the future - truly we attempt to transcend time!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Just Perfect

our current weather, that is - brilliant blue skies, comfortable days, crisp nights and the result is COLOR!

A view from above...

and below.

In large groups....

and singles.

This is my favorite time of year - the stunning scene all around me, the crunch of leaves underfoot, snuggling into sweaters and that indefinable smell of the fallen leaves, there's just nothing better!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pushing the Leaves Aside

It's autumn and the trees are ablaze with color.

But due to all the rain in the past few weeks, we have an absolute bumper crop of fall fungus and their varied forms and colors can definitely pull your eyes away from those trees.

The fungus literally have to push the fallen leaves aside to emerge in all their vivid colors, little jewels on the forest floor.

Many more closely resemble the residents of a coral reef, with their rings, gills, ruffles and frills; they almost seem out of place in such a land based setting.

I've been mulling the idea of a series of bead projects inspired by these beautiful specimens - the textures, colors and contrasts provide lots of potential for creativity.
Beads? Paint? Fabric?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

O. So Wilde

When sunflowers were introduced from America in the mid 16th Century, news of their vast height and radiant flowers spread rapidly through Europe. The first description, written by the Spanish botanist Monardes, reached England in a book entitled 'Joyful news out of the new found world'.
The name sunflower was already used for related flowers, especially marigolds, and the idea of opening to face the sun and following its course across the sky also applied to daisies - originally 'day's-eyes'.A flower motif inspired by daisies or marigolds, but exaggerated to look more like the sun and its rays, appeared in Roman mosaics and medieval church carvings long before sunflowers themselves arrived. In this sense the new sunflowers seemed to embody ancient traditions, and this was echoed in the Latin name Helianthus, deriving from the name of the Greek sun god Helios.
Meanwhile, in America, the Incas had made sunflowers the symbol of their god, but in 17th Century Europe sunflowers came to represent kingship at its most vainglorious. For instance, Charles I of England and later Louis XIV of France were referred to as the Sun King. Like royalty, sunflowers lost favour and 18th Century gardening manuals suggested banning these oversized plants from flowerbeds. Instead they became useful crops, producing oil from the seeds, and also fibres, dyes and medicines.
But sunflowers were to rise again in artistic status. In the 19th Century the aesthetic movement, led by fashionable figures such as Oscar Wilde, popularised the sunflower as a motif in decorative art. Far more enduringly, Van Gogh imparted new heights of meaning and popularity with his series of sunflower paintings. In these he sought to reflect the heat of the sun during the summer at Arles, and its creative energy.

This particular sunflower was found on a walk in the woods - how had it come to be growing out in the wild?

The photo I snapped that day was transferred onto silk and has been heavily bead embroidered, as well as bit of silk embroidery.

This is a one of a kind example of wearable art, a statement piece that celebrates the artistic influences of the past in a completely modern style.