Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thinking of You. . .

Sorry for the lack of posting, but my Christmas break has been super busy. There were six consecutive days of Christmasing and visiting with family and friends, much baking and even more snow, a very productive shopping trip (jeans that fit! one pair for $8!), some cleaning up and clearing out, lunch with a dear friend, and a mild but obnoxious head cold.

Amongst all of that, I managed to finish up my sketchbook for Art House's Sketchbook Library. My theme was "Thinking of You". I was a little unenthusiastic about this theme at first, but I got into and I'm pretty happy with the results. Some pages are stronger than others, but I guess that goes for every sketchbook. These are just a few shots of some of my favorite pages.

Hope you had a great holiday season, and wishing you a happy and safe new year! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quote of the Week

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bad Blood (Pressure)

I attended one of the most aggravating critiques of my life today. I won't go into the details, but suffice to say that I called out a classmate on a piece that was supposedly about family and blood connections but her forms (spiky balls) looked obviously like viruses. Everyone then got very testy. I got a lot of flack for saying that, and the rest of the class came to the artist's defense saying that they they didn't see that, because they weren't familiar with what viruses actually look like. Even the former biology major didn't know what viruses look like.

I googled "virus" and this was the first image that popped up:
These are some images of blood cells that I found:

That white thing is a white blood cell.

Sometimes the extent of scientific illiteracy in this country (world?) takes me by surprise and slaps me in the face. And sometimes other artist's inability to take criticism gracefully takes me by surprise and slaps me in the face. It makes me sick to my stomach. The whole experience made me sick to my stomach and made me so angry my insides were quivering. The critique when downhill from there.

How do you handle people who get angry and defensive when you try to give honest constructive criticism? Where's the line between a piece being too literal and just not getting the point across at all? How much do you consider what each viewer brings to the piece and when, if ever, do you begin to disregard it? At what point is blood pressure medication needed?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Well, there's two more days of finals left in the semester! I finished my paper, graded all my student work and posted final grades, took a final and finished up a piece today for my textiles crit tomorrow. I'll post some pictures of it and some of the other things I've been working on. Sorry I've been so lax on the pictures the past few weeks, I'll try and make up for it.

I also registered for the SNAG conference in Houston. I was super excited about it until I figured out how much it's going to cost me. It's wicked expensive! But, I decided that since I skipped the Philly conference and I probably won't be able to go once I'm not a student, I really need to take this advantage while I can. Plus, I'm rooming with three other seriously awesome cool people! Now, I just need to figure out what I'm going to make for the pin swap!

Oh, and I'm defiantly going to go see this while I'm there!

And I got my passport! More on where I'm headed later!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dogon Wisdom

I took a class on African Art this semester and it was really pretty fascinating. I'm currently working on my research paper for the class and came across this interesting tidbit about the Dogon people:

"A woman must have secret parts to inspire desire. If she went about in the market with nothing on, no one would run after her even if she were very beautiful. Undressed and unadorned she is not desirable; but dress and ornament make men desire her even if she is not beautiful. From a very beautiful woman without adornment, men turn away. . . To be naked is to be speechless."

from "Conversations with Ogotemmeli: An Introduction to Dogon Relious Ideas"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Trades!

Well, as most of you know, it's that special time of the year where posting becomes a bit sparse. That's right, FINALS!!!! Our last day of classes is tomorrow, and finals begin on Thursday. Everyone is busy, busy, busy. Also, last week was the ECU Holiday Sale. It was pretty great. All the guilds get together and set up in the Gray Gallery (the school's main gallery), so you can shop from everyone at the same time and place! There was tons of great stuff the the Metals Guild made a nice amount of money.

I purchased this great shirt from the Printmaking Guild. It was my only purchase, but I did do some FANTASTIC trades! I got a brooch, which I've been absolutly coveting from fellow metals grad Laura Wood. These pictures don't do it justice at all. I also got a great scarf from fibers grad Amanda Micheletto. It is also prettier than it's picture. It's a lovely sapphire blue merino wool scarf with machine stitching in red.

I've got a couple of more trades in the works, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quote of the Week

"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices."
~ Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)


This week as an exploration I told my students to write down 15-20 things they're thankful for. Answers were all along the same line (friends, family, food) with a few more interesting ones.
Here's what I'm thankful for:
- My ring clamp. Seriously, I use it for everything.
- All the wonderful people who help me make it through the week. Other grads, the secretaries, even campus Environmental Health and Safety, I really could not survive with out all the help I receive from the people around me.
- The crickets that already come boxed.
- Peanut Butter frosting.
- Gin. The good gin.
- Ibuprofen
- Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
- Prismacolor Markers
- The little junk/antique shops on Dickenson
- Vintage post cards
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration
- Cheap beer
- MX dye
- The Post Office
- The Outer Banks
- My space heater. I really think I would die with out it.

And I'm thankful for you dear readers. Precious few as you are, I really appreciate the support. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Catch Up

Whew! This semester is flying by! Sorry posting has been so spotty lately, but I think this is the busiest semester I've ever had. Here's some things I've been up to, but haven't blogged about:

Gloria Steinem Lecture- Feminist and creator of Ms. magazine, Gloria Steinem came and gave a lecture here. It was free for students so I decided to go just for the heck of it. I'm so glad that I did! She is such a wonderful speaker, very witty. It was really great, I should have blogged about it more in detail right after I went to share it with all of you. Maybe I will over the break.

The ECU iron pour- My Design I students did scratch blocks for the iron pour. They were super excited and their projects turned out pretty well! The pour itself was amazing as always and even made the front page or the school news paper!

Jenny Schmid- Printmaking had a visiting artist this past weekend (hence the total lack of blogging!). She was super cool and makes kick ass work! The Print Guild printed an edition with her and everyone got to help in some capacity. I think this was such a great opportunity for the undergrads here. They did 61 prints, four runs. Here's a finished print, waiting to be torn down into a bleed print.

Jenny also did this sweet design for the Print Guild and several people silk screened these onto t-shirts.

So that's a few of the exciting things going on in my world. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


There are these smooshed acorns all over campus and their insides are bright orange like carrots.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Book!

So, only about two or three times in my life have I said to my self "I want/need a book like . . ." and then actually discovered the very book I need some weeks/months later! A while back, I was thinking to myself that I what I really needed was a bunch of quick, easy to sew projects, using only one yard of fabric. And low and behold, I found One Yard Wonders! I had to wait about 6 weeks for it to be released, and then about another week to get my copy from Amazon. But I finally got my paws on it and I love it! Some of the projects are not so thrilling, and a bunch are for kids (not so useful to me right now) but there's quite a few projects I intend on making. It has everything from bags to tops to organizers and even a dress. I highly recommend it to any sewing enthusiast. Storey Publishing is having a Yard-of-the-Month Sweepstakes where you can win a yard of fabric a month for a whole year!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quote of the Week

" He who possess art and science has religion; he who does not posses them needs religion."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bench Shot

Here's a current shot of what's on my bench. I think it's kind of funny, because it show's several metalsmith "no no's", glue, beads and string. I'm at this really weird spot. Can I really call myself a metalsmith, if I use little to no metal? Do I call myself a jeweler? Does it really matter what I call myself? Would my time be better spent making work than worrying about labels?
Also, I switched out the pearls on "Black Sands" for black lava beads. They totally make the piece, and I'm so happy I was able to find exactly what I wanted. Thanks Etsy! (I find I buy more supplies than hand made goods off Etsy. Is this a bad thing?)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The capacity for wonder has been called our most human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science and our religion."

~Ralph Sockman

Monday, October 26, 2009

Love on the Side

I'm really into vintage handkerchiefs right now. I don't really know why. They have nothing to do with the rest of my work. I picked up a few when I went antiquing with Keith LoBue several weeks ago, but I'm still not sure what I'd like to do with them yet. I think there's a bad pic of them a few posts back. Here's some much prettier pics, all found via Flickr.

Monday Gifts

I love when I come in in the morning and find gifts on my bench! This morning I came into two fantastic pieces of lacy fan coral, most likely left by The Ebendorf.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Process Shot of the Week

So, I feel like I've been spending ALL week on preping for my design class! So much grading! Plus, we started on color this week, and I wanted to make examples for my students. It literally sucked up all my time this week. But, I did manage to get White Sands finished.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bonus Quote of the Week

" I have also come to the conclusion that the square is a human invention, which makes it sympathetic to me. Because you don't see it in nature. As we do not see squares in nature, I thought that it is man-made. But I have corrected myself. Because squares exist in salt crystals, our daily salt. We know this because we can see it in the microscope."

~Josef Albers

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quote of the Week

"What have we been doing all these centuries but trying to call God back to the mountain, or, failing that, raise a peep out of anything that isn't us? What is the difference between a cathedral and a physics lab? We spy on whales and on intersteller radio objects; we starve ourselves and pray til we're blue."

~Anne Dillard

Process Shot of (Last) Week

Sorry these are a few days late.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Mushrooms

Found these great clumps of mushrooms on my walk to school on Monday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pitt County Fair

Some pictures of my outing to the Pitt County Fair last Friday. I ate fried Oreos and they were amazing. There was a disappointing lack of livestock, but I did get to see some rabbits and pet some sheep.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The mountains are great stone bells; they clang together like nuns. Who shushed the stars? . . . . The sea pronounces something, over and over in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out. But God knows I have tried."
~Anne Dillard
From Teaching a Stone to Talk

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So, as I said before, I'm taking a grad level fibers class this semester. It's an all grad class, and it's a mix of learning techniques, discussion, and eventually making work. I'm enjoying the techniques, but the rest of the class content seems to be a little fluffy, particularly for a grad level class. Last class we were to bring in our "inspiration" for our work. I think my inspiration is pretty obvious when you look at my work, but, ok, I'll take an opportunity to brag about all the cool stuff I have. I don't mind seeing other people's cool stuff either, it's just that I think I'd rather look at the work and discuss the work, especially since we're all at the stage we're at.

A few of us brought collections of objects, our professor brought work, most people, frankly, I think forgot to bring anything. But one student said that she gets her inspiration from looking at other artists. She says she spends hours and hours on the Internet looking at lesson plans (she's Art Ed) and other art. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I certainly like to look at work, and try my best to keep current with the field, but I try not to look too much at other work in the context of my making, for fear I might emulate something too closely. For a while, I was always asked "What other artists are you looking at?" and I usually came up with some artists work which I loved and kinda had a relation to mine, but really in my head and heart, I was thinking "No one. This is my work. Why do I want to let what someone else is doing influence my work? Why can't I let these objects I love inspire me?"

Don't get me wrong, I understand the value and need in looking at other work, I just have an issue with someone making work "inspired" by the work of other artist. Thoughts on this?

At any rate, I think this exercise for class was beneficial for me. I was thinking about what to take (Which rock do I love the most?) and I think I realized why I make large neck pieces as opposed to objects or bracelets or whatever else. I only make brooches and neckpieces. Large neckpieces. I think this is because I love these things I work with so much and what they represent to me, that I literally want to wrap my self in them. Cover myself. Swathe my self in them like a favorite blanket. I love these things and I want them on my person. I want them within reach.

Sorry if that was a bit rambling. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Break?

What I would like to do over the Fall Break:
- go to the beach
- go to a flea market
- go to the Hexchange show in B'more
- finish reading my favorite book
- spend some time in the country
- go to the fair
- sew something
- go see a really excellent movie
- relax

What I will actually be doing over the Fall Break:
- grading
- documenting all of my student's work up until this point
- make up a mid term exam for my students
- sew something
- studio work, but I'm not sure what
- work on coming up with my art history topic/ bibliography

Wish I had the whole week off.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fabric Fun

So, I'm taking a textiles class this semester. It's supposed to be about wearables, but right now, it feels like a survey class. We've been watching various demos on various techniques, the first two of which (acid dying and felt making) I've had plenty of previous experience. But last week we covered Thermofax, a low tech silk screen method, and fiber reactive dyes. I've also been messing around with rusting fabric. I don't really know what I'm going to do with all of these test pieces, but I'm enjoying playing around. I really love fabric and always have, but I don't always know what to do with it. Hence, the trying to learn how to sew. Anyways, here's some of the fabric I've altered in the past few days.

Quote of the Week

"The creative mind plays with the objects it loves."
~Carl Jung

Sunday, October 4, 2009