Saturday, January 31, 2009

Meet the Monsters

I've had a couple of requests to post my stuffed monsters on this blog, so here are a few. They're made from upcylcled wool sweaters, embroidery floss, buttons, and polyester stuffing. This was a relatively unmessy project that I could work on while watching TV that would utilize some of the thrift store sweaters that I've been felting. This little guy is named Sydney--after the city in Australia. I sent him to my daughter to help scare off the wacky squirrels at her college that jump onto window ledges, chew through the screens, and invade dorm rooms. So far, so good. No squirrel invasions yet.
I made this guy for my friend Casey using her favorite striped sweater from middle school. When she discovered a hole in the sweater, she decided it was finally time to say goodbye and she asked me if I wanted to use it for anything. I never refuse "an art project waiting to happen" so I took the sweater and made her a Christmas present.

Lastly, meet Arthur McFitz. Arthur is the official mascot for Artfits, the altered book club that meets at my house twice a month to play and create altered books. You'll be seeing more of Arthur because Cathy has decided to learn needle felting and she is making a number of mini-Arthurs that are adorable.

I decided to post the monsters to show the progression to the next stuffed project that I'm working on. Right now I'm just calling him "the guy." This new softie is more human--well, if someone with a blue head and orange body can be considered human. At the moment I think he looks like a cross between outsider folk art and a deranged Muppet. You can decide which after I finish him and post pictures.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Couple More Postcards

I have two more Aussie postcards ready to drop in the mail this week. I waited until I knew the first one arrived safely before I sent the other two. Now...back to the Aussie slang dictionary to find more colorful and fun words and phrases.

Monday, January 19, 2009

P is for Play Day

Since the office where we work was closed today, Casey and I decided to indulge in an art play day. She came over bright and early and we started the day with coffee and a little brainstorming. We like to bounce ideas off each other, and I had a few in mind for the Big Ball of Happiness. We played around with a couple different ideas, but nothing was clicking enough to get the ball rolling, so we decided to leave that alone and head down to the studio. Casey spent the day working on a charcoal drawing while I worked in my altered book, Fire, and then switched to coloring a couple more Australian slang postcards.

The day flew by and it was mid-afternoon before we knew it. Casey took some photos with the new camera that she got for Christmas. I especially like the one of the "aftermath."

Here is the awesome gift that Casey gave me for Christmas. I was thrilled to receive such a cool found object and didn't realize that it was a P (for Pat) until she pointed it out to me. She took a photo of each side and I flipped one photo so that I now have two P's.

P is for pal. Thanks buddy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fun with Lettering

This week, while Jack Bauer was saving the world, I decided to practice my lettering and make a few postcards to send to my daughter at college. She's planning to study abroad in Australia, so I thought it would be fun to illustrate Australian slang and little tidbits that will be good to know when she gets there. I found some ridiculously old watercolor paper in my studio (I swear it's leftover from my college days) and used an ultra fine point black Sharpie and Prismacolor watercolor pencils. I had so much fun making these!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Primo Rejectamenta

Sometimes I'm lucky enough to find what I call "primo rejectamenta." This is a find so unique and unusual that it's almost too good to actually use. Such was the case when I found these little beauties tucked in the pages of a book at the thrift store. I wonder who the artist was sketching and why the drawings ended up as place markers in a long forgotten book. I will immortalize them in art!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Big Ball of Happiness

Remember the giant green Styrofoam ball that I bought for $7.50 and talked about in an earlier post? I've been rolling some ideas around in my head about what I want to do with it, and I'm thinking about creating a big ball of happiness. I'm picturing a combination of felted wool, fabric, and embellishments that will blend fabric art with collage and journaling and revolve around the theme of happiness. Inspire me with your ideas. Tell me how you would finish this sentence: Happiness is....

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Today I attended my first ever sketchcrawl with my partner in crime, Cathy. On the first Saturday of the month, a group of people meet at a pre-determined location and spend about two hours sketching their surroundings. Today's location was the West Side Market. Cathy and I decided to start out near the food stands and we searched for a spot that would be out of the path of the crowd of shoppers.

I had a hard time getting started for several reasons: I haven't sketched in a long time and I'm not very good at it; I've never sketched in a public place; I've never sketched standing up; and I don't like crowded spaces. After much deliberation, I settled on a display of cream puffs and got to work. It was hard to ignore the stares of the shoppers and the glare of the bakery vendor who probably would have preferred if I had bought a cream puff instead of sketching them. I only got three of the four cream puffs drawn before I was jostled aside by paying customers. I decided I didn't like sketching so close to people in such a crowded place so I went outside to find something else to draw.

I went to the alley behind the fruit and vegetable stands where they toss out empty boxes and trash. I found a half empty box of tomatoes and decided to sketch that. After a while I rejoined Cathy inside and we went to the balcony to meet up with the rest of the group. It felt good to sit down, so I pulled out my watercolor pencils and spent the rest of the time adding color to my sketches.

We had a lot of fun and we're going to try and make the sketchcrawl a regular monthly outing. I don't think my sketches are great, but at least it leaves me a lot of room for improvement in the months ahead.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Juice, Anyone?

This may look like an ordinary bottle of juice, but in the hands of Margaret Garrington it is a work of art. Check out the Looza Bottle Project and see how Margaret combined empty juice bottles and loads of rejectamenta to create an incredible art installation. This is one of those projects that I admire and think, "I wish I had thought of that!"

The Looza Bottle Project reminds me of a smaller version of John Dahlsen's Environmental Wallworks made from plastics collected from Australian beaches. These pieces are amazingly beautiful and created entirely from garbage washed up on the beach. John is the King of Rejectamenta in my book! Be sure to check out his entire site--there's a lot to see.

This is the kind of art that really gets my juices flowing. (Pun intended. Sorry, I couldn't help myself!) I plan to buy a bottle of Looza juice every time I do the weekly grocery shopping. I will consider it my reward for a task that I don't especially enjoy. I think the bottles will look lovely in my studio filled with rejectamenta and various art supplies. If anyone drinks Looza and would like to donate their empty bottles to me, just let me know. By the way, the juice is pretty darn good and a bottle goes a long way.