Category Archives: Art and Craft

Some art and SPARK.

As you can see in the side bar, I played SPARK again this month.  I had the delight and honor of having Amy Souza as my partner.  Amy is the mother of Spark, and was my dreamy roommate in London during our senior year of college.  She is impossibly glorious.  There were a record number of folks participating this round.

I got a wonderful inspiration piece from her-

You can spy  our exchange– as well as some art by Jimmy and lots of other great work  at

Please consider signing up next time– it is a lot of fun!

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Living in a cardboard box, a tutorial.

Well, we made it through 3 days of the first week of school before the kids were sick… One EVILVirus and one with THE STREP.   WOW.

That being the case, the long holiday weekend was a little more laid back than originally day-dreamt.  Today we had a bit of family art-making, messing about with all kinds of paper-crafting.   I am excited have a bit of art with Jimmy in the works and having to do with said paper crafting.  In the meantime I have been thinking a lot about making things.  A LOT of things.  I’ll share it all, I’m good like that.

To start with, the girls made these pretty cool “personal ornamentation racks”.  They started with a double layer of cardboard, taped and paper mache covered.  You can see that Rosies has a custom hairband holder, made from a paper towel tube and some scraps.  After the mache dried, they were painted and cuphooks added.  WA-LAAAAAH! Function and form combine for lovely moderne art and jewelry display!

Pretty clever poppet-work.


Then the little drew up some plans for a dwelling. 

You see, when Marigold was the little, we built her this really magical tree house one year….

It’s gigantic.  It has load of little furniture and irresistible miniature goodies plus fairies like these to go with it–

Rosie is permitted to play with these, but you know how it is to be the second sibling…  There are lots of clarifying questions like ” These are HERS, right? … But is this one MINE? …replay.)  Hereby, I am going to do my best to remedy the imbalance of fey real estate.  Today I began the construction of The Taj Mahal of toadstools for the recently completed gnome family to inhabit.  A sort of tutorial will follow along with it.

Here is phase one.  It’s not going to look like a whole lot at the end of this, but have faith and patience.

Gather up:

A bunch of boxes

a box cutter/carpet knife

a LOT of masking tape

The first step is to have a plan.  You might want to draw up a road-map, or if you are a cowgirl-art-mama like me, you just start making shapes and know that you have LOADS of tape  and boxes to make changes.  This is one of those creative flow sort of projects.  Give yourself permission to just build it like you’re six again.

Does that all make sense??  I know it’s no instructable, that’s for sure.  Let me know if you need words or coaching to go with the pictures.

That’s today’s  installment kids.  Next, it will get some holes for doors and windows, some floors/levels, and a WHOLE LOTTA paper mache.  This is going to be an ongoing project. Jim says I should finish it before I go posting a tutorial, but bah!  It can be a make-a-long for the time being, or just a progress log if you don’t want to play.  We’ll make furniture and folks and critters– sounds fun right??

Get yer cardboard and make a mushrump. Or a jewelry rack.  And show me yours!

Hang in there.  More coming this week.

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It’s the little things….

Call it Miniature-itis, Fi-FI-Fo-Fum Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Tiny Hysteria….  It is a pathological weakness for all things tiny.

It is age-old.  No one is safe.

Lots of my friends and loved ones are similarly afflicted.  I like that.

It’s a gift, I think.

The girls and I got our miniature-freak on with Althea Chrome of Bugknits.  The National Museum for Women in the Arts had her there for a lecture and workshop, and we were lucky to be able to spend some time with her.

What a crazy-lovely woman.

The workshop that followed the talk was part of the museum’s Role Model Workshops, which “brings area teens together with women who have achieved success in the visual, literary, and performing arts and other areas of creativity. Visiting artists serve as role models and mentors, offering career information and guidance and leading hands-on activities that encourage creative self-expression.”  She taught this group of girls how to knit, and was so patient.  We’ll be keeping an eye out for more of these programs there at the museum.  Really great!

She is so sweet and captivating and full of life.  It was a joy to hear her speak in her lecture about the process and history behind each of her teeny tiny works, and I can’t tell you what it was like to look at them in person.  AHmazing.  To see such craftsmanship and concept applied at such a minuscule scale.  It makes my brain hurt.  Rosie was even hypnotized…. She asked some pretty great questions too.

The scuba sweater, the City-Country sweater and socks, and the Truth and Wisdom Kimono were three that were particularly fascinating to hear about.  They have such great design work in them– which is so SMALL, and then they also tell little stories, with symbols and illustrations from times or events of her life.  It was also fascinating to hear the stories about her work for Coraline.  The long process she went through arriving at what was finally the sweater.  You might imagine that something so small would be easier in concept– but the design and material challenges are wonderful.  I imagine that it is part of the fun for her… making it work and then making something that goes beyond that to beauty and amazement.

Marigold and I could not resist some of her needles and patterns which you can get on her site.  We have a mini cardigan and pair of socks to make.  If I make it through without scratching out both my eyes, I want to make her Queen Elizabeth sweater too.  I have some other BIG ideas of other big that I might like  to try TINY as well.  It’s a little addictive. :)

It was so funny– ( paraphrasing) ” People make 3 assumptions about me– that I am crazy, that I have really small hands, and that I have excellent eyesight.  None are true.”

She mentioned an interesting looking new book coming up called the Culture of Knitting which she’ll be appearing in.  I am hoping on big things for she and her tiny masterpieces.  See if you can catch her teaching or speaking sometime.  She is a fascinating artist, woman and parent–you’ll fall in love with her too! She’ll be at the Guild School in Maine this Summer teaching a miniature knitting class.  They have classes there like “MIni wheelthrown raku pottery. Just kill me.  Better yet, just TAKE ME if you go!!

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Hope is a Tomato. Art from Writing: Writing from Art… Conclusion

Here is the awesome “inspiration piece” I got from my partner, Caroline. We were paired up by Kismet, I think! I don’t want to spoil the whole thing– I will post a link to the “exhibit page” as soon as Amy has it up. Then you can see what Jimmy did as well as some other friends.

I love this:

Home Grown by Caroline Crawford

Open up.

It’s been a long time.

Now surrender yourself to

the sweet, the sour, the juice, the meat

of this tomato

and remember why you wait

dismiss without even picking up

the rotten tomatoes of November

the cold-storage tomatoes of January

the anemic tomatoes of February

the mealy tomatoes from too-far-away of March

the picked-too-soon tomatoes of May

remember why

you grow your own

choose your seed

plant it

water it

wait for it to sprout

watch it, fret over it, breathe a sigh of relief when the green appears,

let it grow

on its own

and with help, and support, and attention, yes,

but pick a good seed, and a good tomato knows how to grow itself

a good tomato knows it’s a good tomato when it’s in that seed

it knows that in time, with patience, it’s going to be

big, red, round, soft, firm, tender, juicy

it’s going to make you sigh and say

yes, there’s nothing better

yes, that’s what I want

that’s what I waited for

that’s why I don’t buy tomatoes

why I wait.

Taste this tomato and remember

what a tomato is supposed to be

something worth waiting for

something worth savoring

something to celebrate while the juice is dripping down your arm

it’s your dirt, your rain, your patience, your summer,

it’s hope come to fruition,

it’s love, it’s life.

I am totally jonesing for the garden now too! ( I HAVE MY PEAS READY TO GO, PEGALOO!!!)

It was awesome– as soon as I got it in my email, I laughed and read it out loud to Marigold. Remember I had just submitted the garden-esque painting ( posted previously)…. She sat right down and whipped up this:

It took me a lot longer to get my brushes in gear, but here is what I came up with. ( click on for bigger)

It’s some tiny-art.  the “bigger” tomato canvas is only 2″ x 2″.  I am liking my art smaller these days I think. I am shrinking….

Hope that gives you nice thoughts of spring and summer and the tomatoes in our future!!!  Have a hopeful tomato kind of day!

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I love these.  We had a very shroomy thing going on here…  The bottom of Marigolds painting features her recent discovery of heavy molding paste… there is some serious texture going on in that will-be-green grass!!

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