Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A "Mish Mosh" of things...

Got a bit behind in posting things I wanted to share with everyone - so forgive me as I throw it all in one post to catch up and in no particular order...

I've always loved books. As a matter of fact I still have some of my original picture books from when I was a child - three of my favorites - Madeline; Make Way for Ducklings; and Eloise - sit in my collection of hundreds of children's books most of them signed by their authors - so it's no mistake that I have a new love in my recent incarnation of the adult me - making books - I created a class that I call "A Gaggle of Books in a Box"

My book samples for the class ...
where students create five different mini-books - a scroll book, a star book, a corrugated paper bag book, an accordion book and a shipping tag book - that all fit in a box (actually in an altered oatmeal tub) - and this Sunday I was thrilled to be able to teach this intense but fun class at VIVA Gallery upstairs studio - thanks to Erella, Joann and Nancy for coming to play with me! Yes, play - they each walked away with their five mini-books and their parting gift from me - a little rubber duckie and a mini-water color set.

Erella with her star book

Nancy holding her star book - Joann's yellow star book on table and Erella's red accordion book in the background

Erella and Joann at "Show & Tell" at end of class

Joann's tea book - it's her corrugated book using tea bag packages for pages instead of paper bags - beautiful!

Joann and Nancy looking at student work

Joann and Nancy working on scroll books
Erella working on scroll books

A shameless plug for my next class - Saturday - 11/22/08 at a private home studio in Sherman Oaks from 11 am - 4 pm - and includes a light lunch served by our fabulous host for the day - contact me privately to sign up - the class is "Reflections - A wall hanging/banner" based on the "Freedom wall hanging/banner" I won 3rd place in the Art Unraveled art competition this past August - spaces are filling quickly so contact me for more info -

Four-panel "Freedom" wall hanging/banner

Close up of a panel

A couple of months ago I signed up for a chunky book swap on Art Techniques Yahoo group - we had to sign up for a technique to demonstrate in our pages and there could be no duplicate techniques in the book - it started out as a normal chunky book 4 x 4 swap - where they may grow to as many as 35 or 40 sign-ups which means you make that many original (no photo copies) 4 x 4 pages - somehow this book grew and grew and grew and GREW! When it got to 50 participants someone suggested that we form group two - but everyone protested - after all it was a technique book and no one wanted to miss out on a single technique - and then it grew to 60 participants - then 75 - then 80 - 90 - 95 and then gasp! a 100! But wait ... it didn't stop there - the final count was 120 sign-ups! Yes ... you got it - we had to make 120 - 4 x 4 pages of our technique - no photo copies and send them to our fearless (and now celebrated) leader - Sherre - at first it seemed overwhelming - I brought them twice to my mixed media group to work on - and still I wasn't finished - but then it became "Zen like" exercise - and I finished and sent them off - poor Sherre and crew had 120 priority boxes in her dining room & living room to be stuffed with sorted 120 pages times 120 entries - yikes! Then the icing on the cake - my box arrived with 120 different fabulous technique pages to peruse and hopefully try on my own - I decided to figure out a way to bind my pages into a book - what a surprise since I'm a "book person" - here's the result - It was so much fun - I signed up for a chunky book swap for AU with only a mere 30 pages - piece of cake!

Pages I made for AU Technique chunky book (30 pages) (very similar to page I made for Chunky Fat book (120 pages)

Ribbon binding - Chunky Fat book 120 - 4 x 4 pages

Front of fat book - this is one of the pages used as the cover

Overhead view of bound book

Side view of 120 pages bound

The book!

It's bound loosely enough that it can lay flat to use when working on a technique - each page has the technique described on the back

I divided the 120 pages into 5 sections (signatures) and bound each one separately on the Bind-it-All machine - then tied the 5 bound signatures together with colored ribbons

The pages all together - it's such an amazing book! I feel like all 120 of us are in a special international club - connected by our technique pages -

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Nation...

Tears stream down my face as the announcement came at 11 pm* that we have a new President. My heart is full. As a young Jewish girl raised in the South, I remember seeing water fountains marked "white only" and "colored" - there were white and "colored" schools - African Americans could not eat in the same restaurants as me - or go to the same restroom as me - growing up I never saw a black person in anything but a menial or blue collar job. I went to school with only white students until my senior year when 9 black students were bussed to our school of 3500. The only black people I knew were maids in a white friend's home. In school the only thing I studied about black people was about slavery and the Middle Passage and the Civil War - all from a white perspective. From today on when young people look in their history books a new face will be seen on the page with all the Presidents - all white men - 12 were slave owners - from today on they will see a new face as the President of the United States - Barack Obama - the 44th President of the United States - an African American face for all of the people. Never in my lifetime - never during the Civil Rights Movement - never was this idea ever in the realm of my imagination.

I'm trying to get my head around this - I'm overjoyed and can finally say "G-d Bless America!" and be proud of this country and the people who had the hope and courage to see something in this person to lead us in these dark and troubled times. And to know that my home state of Virginia turned the tide and voted Democratic for the first time in over forty years! If only Tim Russert and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy could be with us to see this historic day. I like to think that the healing of the deep wounds of our great country are finally beginning to heal after over 200 years. This gives all minorities hope for things to come in our lifetime. America has turned the corner today and I am so proud to be an American!

* 11 pm - interesting fact - when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation - word got out to the country at 11 pm - it was 11 pm last night that the announcement broke by the various news stations that Barack Obama had enough electoral votes and was indeed the next President of the United States - I can't help but think about the fact that it was slave labor that built the steps of the Capitol in Washington,D.C. that our new President Barack Obama will stand on January 20th to take the Oath of Office.
I was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in the suburbs in Virginia (the part that the Republicans said didn't count) - Fairfax County - When I was in high school my father was elected Chair of the Fairfax County School Board - a lifelong Nixon Republican - he was given the difficult task of deciding along with the Board whether to integrate the schools - he struggled long and hard with his decision - he was always one to do the right thing - there was a tie when the Board voted - it was his vote that decided that indeed the schools would be integrated - the toll of this decision and the stress my Dad was under during these difficult times took a toll on him - but he was a part of history and change that was good - I didn't understand the magnitude of all of this at the time - I recently read the newspaper clippings that he saved accounting these meetings - I never really told my Dad how proud I was of his decision and the courage he had at the time - he passed away 25 years ago - and although our politics were never the same - which made for lively dinner table conversations over the years - I'm pretty sure my Dad would have been supporting McCain but I know that my Dad would have been proud of our country's courage to do the right thing - I love you, Poppy and I'm so very proud of the work you did at a time that wasn't easy - but then the path of courage never is.

Monday, November 3, 2008

VOTE! Like your life depends on it...

because it does! I thought long and hard about commenting on this blog about voting and the election - and was not going to discuss political choices in a place where I present my creative endeavors - but after reading so many of your blogs - artists that I really respect for their artistic and creative savvy - I was shocked at how many well known names have clickable buttons to vote yes on Prop 8 here in California - so I can no longer hold my tongue - The artistic community has always been forward thinking and full of folks who are willing to march to the beat of their own drummers - I urge each of you to search your heart and soul before you mark your ballot and vote for discrimination - because that's what you'll be doing if you vote for Prop 8 - you will actually be voting against a large population - a large part of this artistic community - you are saying that people you know and work with and call friends deserve to have 2nd class citizen rights and that we need change our state constitution to do this - this is not a vote about the bedroom - this is a vote for discrimination and against human rights - it is distorted facts and half-truths begun by the powerful and wealthy Mormon Church and picked up by other religious right groups - Don't believe them - don't just listen to propaganda but do some research and read the facts -

Not that long ago women were discriminated against because they were thought of as 2nd class citizens and did not have the right to vote - Japanese Americans were rounded up and against their will placed in camps right here in America - Armenian Americans were not allowed to buy homes in sections of this state - and African Americans and Latinos and others were - by law- told who they could and could not marry - and now it is my Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters that are being discriminated against - take a stand for human rights - think about all the art friends you enjoy working with and call friends and how this will affect all of us - do the right thing - join me and many others in this community and VOTE NO! ON PROP 8 tomorrow - (and a vote for Obama too!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Updated Photos for My November Class

Did some more work on the sample mini-books for the November 9th workshop I'm teaching at Viva Gallery in Sherman Oaks - Working on the box to hold them all - contact me privately to sign up for the workshop -

(Just a reminder that all artwork, photographs and writing content on this blog, is the property of the artist and may not be copied, or posted anywhere without written consent. Thank you for respecting the hours and hours of work that goes into creating this site and its contents.)

Five mini-books will be housed in a box

Five mini-books opened

Book 1 - Scroll Book - tied closed

Scroll book opened - back

Scroll Book - opened interior

Book #2 - Accordion book - stamped cover - front view - tied closed

Accordion book - interior - side one opened

Accordion book - side 2 - opened

Accordion book - stamped back cover

Book #3 - Cover - cardboard paper bag book

Inside cover - cardboard paperbag book

Book #4 - Vintage starbook closed

Vintage starbook opened

Book #5 - Tag book

Sunday, October 26, 2008

November Mixed Media Classes and more

Just a quick post - I'm off to a screening at the Israeli Film Festival 2008 of a documentary - Praying in Her Own Voice - about the struggle of the famed "Women of the Wall" movement. This group has spearheaded the battle for female equality in the religious world. Their main focus has been on the Western Wall (Wailing Wall in Jerusalem) - the holiest site for Jews where Orthodox, Conservative and Reform women are not allowed to gather and pray in community. For the past decade they have challenged the Israeli government and the entire Jewish world by raising a lot of media attention both through colorful protests and by their unstoppable legal battle - which has ended several times at the Israeli Supreme Court which made some very controversial rulings. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker- Ravit Markus and Myra Newman - member of the Pluralism and Religious Diversity in Israel Committee of the LA- Tel Aviv Partnership. When I was in Israel at the Wall, we were herded into a small section on the side with a tall fence dividing the main area where men and boys prayed. Mothers, sisters and other female family members were not allowed to attend their son's bar mitzvahs happening on the other side of the wall because they were women. Should be an interesting evening!

I am teaching the following classes in LA - open to traveling and teaching in your area - contact me privately to discuss -


Please save these dates and RSVP:

Sunday, November 9th - 1pm – 5 pm - @ VIVA Gallery upstairs studio, Sherman Oaks - $70 – MUST RSVP to me prior to class date - A GAGGLE OF BOOKS IN A BOX – in this workshop we will create 5 mini-books of various styles that are housed in a box – After picking a theme for your books through some short exercises to get your “juices going”, instruction will be given for making each book – a star book, a corrugated cardboard/paper bag book, a shipping tag book, a scroll book and an accordion book. After creating the 5 books, each student will be encouraged to collage/decorate/embellish the books and the box to reflect their own style using the five samples taught in class. The class is designed for all student levels. No prior experience required.

Miniature corrugated cardboard/paper bag book

Shipping tag mini-book

Vintage miniature star book

(photos of scroll book and accordion book will be posted later)

Saturday, November 22nd – 11 am – 4 pm - @ a studio in a private home in Thousand Oaks - $70 - MUST RSVP to me prior to class date – THEMED WALL HANGING/BANNER – this workshop will be based on the “Freedom Banner/Wall Hanging” that I created and won 3rd Place at the Art Unraveled Art Contest 2008. Consisting of four panels with hanging word tags using collage, aging materials, crackle paints, ribbons, buttons and more, this art piece addressed the idea of Freedom – both personal and political – by using a few short exercises and a guided meditation, each student will pick a theme for their project and then incorporate the words and ideas that come from the exercises while creating this paper wall hanging/banner.

Each panel begins with an ordinary collage exercise (this is panel #4)

Completed wallhanging/banner

Watch for other dates and locations – TBA… I will send photo links in the next few days but wanted to get this info out to the group – thanks!
Sunday, November 2nd – Monthly gathering for So. Cal. Mixed Media Group – 1 pm – 5 pm - @ VIVA Gallery – upstairs studio in Sherman Oaks – must be approved and join the Yahoo Group connected to this group. Contact me privately for further info.

FYI - I am a Creative Life Coach (10 years), mixed media artist, published writer, and teacher. I am celebrating 30 years in the entertainment industry including TV/Film/Theatre/Music and have taught creative journal writing classes for over twenty years and mixed media classes for the past year and a half - I combine mixed media projects with thoughtful self-reflection exercises encouraging my students to dig deeper into thought as they create their art projects, thereby blending process, project and creative thought into a meaningful art piece for their personal enjoyment.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

20th International Sketchcrawl Day!

Meant to post this earlier but .... anyway today is the 20th International Sketchcrawl Day - Oct 25th - in case you're not familiar with this event - here's the site - but basically the idea is that on this day people all over the world either gather together at a location in their town and sketch or go out on your own and sketch - there are no rules - anyone can participate - sketch for 20 minutes at one location or spend the day traveling to several locations - any level - from beginner to professional - any age - from kids to seniors - The cool thing about this is that as you are out and about sketching know that people from all over the world - literally - are doing the same thing (be sure to check out the forum on the site to see what others are doing on this day all over the world) - it's such a simple but wonderful idea - would love to hear from anyone who goes out and participates today and let us see what you've sketched - have a wonderful day! and a special thank you and shout out to the founder and creator of Sketchcrawl - Enrico Caruso (that's his logo at the opening of this post) - such a simple but joyful and inclusive idea - if only more people in the world thought this way - artists rule!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Downtown Columbus Walking Tour - Part 3 (cont'd.)

Didn't realize I took so many pictures on this walk - here's the next section - enjoy!

Beautiful tree on the way back to the hotel.

Plaque on the wall outside the Court House - it was quite small - maybe 4 x 6 - placed on low wall as you go up the steps to walk to the door of the building - not prominantly posted - note it says: "No Weapons Allowed - pursuant to the Ohio revised code" - does that mean that before posting this sign and the revision to the code you could bring weapons into the court house?

American flag made out of flowers outside the Court House.

Sunflower installation photographed from across the street.

This was at the base of a flag pole in front of the Court House - the base had 4 seals - one representing each of the armed forces - I only photographed the Army and Air Force - for my brother (Army Colonel retired) and my niece's husband who just completed his 3rd tour in Iraq/Afghanistan - age 25

The description plaque reads: "Dedicated to the Men and Women of Ohio Who Have Served in the Armed Forces of the United States"

Air Force Seal...

Entrance to the Court House

Close up of one of the doors

There were several of these trash cans lining the walkway up to the court house doors

The sunflowers ...again!

This is a portion of a large curved art installation just to the side of the Court House - each one of the sections is a letter from a member of the US Armed Forces who is deployed to a war zone - Some from WW I , WW II, Viet Nam, Iraq, Korea and some earlier - The wall is simply the letters - no explanation - no embellishments or trim - simply the letters - very powerful to see in person -

Close up of one of the letters - It reads: " Dear Darlene, Yes, I've seen the Iraqi POW's. They're just like normal people. Most were soldiers in their country by threat that if they didn't fight, their families would be killed. Most surrendered. So when at first we were returning them, they were killed. It's such a sad story. Then there were the babies that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I can't wait to come home. Looks like May. I'm ready to get back to the great US of A. Love, Shirley"

Directly across from the Wall of Letters - very close was this fountain ...

More letters...

Walking from the Wall of Letters to the street to go back to the hotel, there was a cluster of several of these trees - not sure but they might be 'buckeyes' - wanted to pick one but decided against it -

Looking back and across the street at the sunflower installation to include the painted poster on the wall of the building that reads "Home & Flower Show" and has a huge sunflower painted on the poster - what's up with Ohio and sunflowers?

This plaque is a tall street sign that sits almost at the corner of State Street. It is even more relevant today as we count down the last few days of the presidential campaign. Think about the fact that the events talked about in this sign are about slavery in the United States of America and people helping slaves to escape via the underground railroad. Human beings having to be hidden and escaping to freedom in the dead of night here in our own country just a little over 150 years ago. And today 2008, a black man is running for the Presidency and is in the lead. No matter who you are voting for, that is a remarkable sign of the times. The plaque reads:


Early legislators did not want slavery in Ohio, nor did they want Blacks to settle here. Declaring people of color a menace, they passed the Black Laws. Outside the Statehouse, Blacks weren’t unnoticed. The turnover of black waiters and porters at the Buckeye House aroused no suspicion. White customers overlooked barbers James Poindexter and Andrew Redmond. No one saw John T. Ward, clerk at Zettler’s. These men were invisible to all but the desperate faces secreted in attics, barns, smokehouses, and in wagons traveling northward at night to Clintonville. Teamsters Louis Washington and his son Thomas were drivers. “The UGRR was actually going on here in Columbus when I came in 1828,” recounted James Poindexter. Conductors David Jenkins, NB Ferguson, and John Bookel were all members of Poindexter’s Antislavery Baptist Church.

In 1842, John T. Ward began assisting Shepherd Alexander to convey runaway slaves through Columbus. William Washington, William Ferguson, Jeremiah Freeland, and others were involved as well. “ Some one or the other of us was with Alexander on every trip, “ stated Ward.

(Co-sponsorship of ODOT and Friends of Freedom Society)