Sunday, December 26, 2010

The first snowfall

I like snow in theory.  In actuality, I much prefer to be inside.  Bleh.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Chinese Food Shabbat (or Merry Christmas, whichever you celebrate)

Tonight, many people in the US will be sitting down for a big meal with friends and family.  They will either be celebrating Shabbat or Christmas or a long weekend (or other holidays I'm not aware of).

Like many Jews, I grew up with the tradition of Chinese food and a movie, either on Christmas eve or Christmas day.  Since this year Shabbat and Christmas are the same day, we are having a Chinese food themed Shabbat dinner.  These pictures are of JewishGuy prepping the tofu for our cold tofu noodle dish (we also have a couple of meat dishes and soup).  He is doing all of the cooking, and I'm doing the cleaning and set-up.  I wouldn't even know where to begin with what he's decided to make!

Last year we went to our friends' house in Chicago and had a big sit-down Chinese food themed dinner (not on Shabbat).  It actually felt kind of odd to me to have the big dinner at someone's house and not at a restaurant, believe it or not!  It was amazing and we had a really great time, but what a funny feeling, since I'm so used to being at a restaurant.  It's kind of a hilarious tradition.  I remember running into people from shul at the nearby Chinese restaurant or the movie theatre.  When I was younger I was surprised, I wondered why they were doing the same thing we were doing, not realizing it's a nation-wide thing.

This year is different because it's Shabbat, too, and it's my first Shabbat on Christmas since I started keeping Shabbat (so I can't go out to dinner).  If JewishGuy wasn't such an amazing cook and was up for the task of tackling Chinese food, we'd probably just have a regular Shabbat dinner.  But still no movie.  At least, not until tomorrow night.  Maybe.

And, for those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas :)


Monday, December 20, 2010

Crochet Tulips

The last time I broke out the yarn was to make a piece to alleviate anxiety and weave a kind of protective symbol.  And it was about a year ago, too.  Hmm...

Anyway, I was feeling anxiety yesterday and needed something to do with my hands, so I started making these tulips.  I wore the big green one as a ring today, but my favorite is the big white one (at the top).  Today I tried making the pink and white ones, which I don't like as much as the brown and white/blue/green ones.

They also kind of look like barnacles to me.  Which made me think of this amazing installation:

(Image credit and more info at

Love it!  Maybe I should make a little underwater scene... (Not that I have anything else to do, oh wait, that anxiety is why I was making the tulips in the first place!)

Check out  Crochet Coral Reef, the blog! It is neat!

Landscape in a Coffee Cup

This piece, created by Yukihiro Kaneuchi , is a little landscape in a coffee cup that appears over time from the stain of the coffee inside the mug.
Tiny Landscape in a Coffee Cup
(Image credit and original article from :

I love this idea!  It's cool to make art that changes over time, reflecting how often it's used (and making art that encourages being used).  It reminds me of Japanese tea ceremony cups described in the book Thousand Cranes, that sometimes were stained on the rim from the lipstick of generations of women.

My only concern is how the stain is able to stick to the mug... the only way I can think this would be possible would be for the bare clay to be exposed, which unfortunately isn't very sanitary.  I would be interested to know how it works!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Growing and Not Growing


I had this going for 5 days.  It was really hard not to move the camera... I missed having it on me at all times.  But, I think this was a fun project.  It's nice to watch plants grow.  (Maybe I'll do more plants growing, like watching roots bud or sprouts...)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Featured Blog: A plate a day.

Looking for some daily inspiration?  A Plate a Day posts a new plate every single day!  As of December 3 there are 542 plates posted, with more coming daily, so go back and look at the archives.

I love subscribing to this blog.  Every day I look forward to seeing what kind of fun and interesting plates they have in store for me!  It’s also a great way to find out about new artists, as each plate is properly credit (with links when possible) to the artists’ websites, blogs, etsy sites, online shops, and photo galleries.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Eraser Landscape

I took an impression of the pieces of eraser left on the art room table today.

It was a lot. A lot a lot.

Some people demonstrate anxiety by
pressing down on a pencil or crayon really hard,
some people
color with a marker over a spot so many times that the paper rips. 
There are countless ways people demonstrate anxiety
with art materials.

One of those ways is erasing.

Erasing until the eraser is gone,
until it's just a nub. 
Erasing until there's a rip in the paper. 
Once a mark is made it's almost impossible to completely unmake. 
Must keep erasing. 
Even after it's no longer making any changes,
erasing, erasing, erasing. 
The eraser is ripped to pieces
and you blow the pieces around the table,
or maybe make a pile of them as you deftly wipe them off the paper like garbage. 
These little sticky white rubber pieces that aren't useful anymore,
not that they were useful in the first place,
at least after the first few passes.

The art room was empty. 
I couldn't resist. 
I saw a mountain range of pilled-up eraser pieces
and I had to have a picture somehow. 
I didn't have my camera.

So I gently laid my paper
over the mountain range
and rubbed with a pencil.

First, I rubbed lightly,
but it wasn't coming out how I liked
so I tried adding pressure. 
Then I just kept going. 
And the rubbing of the pencil
seemed to mimic the movement
the eraser must have made. 
A dance to honor the death of a once-useful yellow artist's eraser.

I made four xerox copies of the rubbing
so I could keep it
without getting graphite all over myself
(too late).

It wasn't enough.

When I got home I took an eraser and
erased the rubbing of the eraser. 
Erased, erased, erased
until I ripped the page. 
Then erased some more. 
It's very hard to erase a xerox,
and the eraser is useless
after the first layer. 
At first I thought I might make a design
but I realized quickly that was impossible
so I focused on simply erasing the pigment from the page.

Tectonic plates collided,
earthquakes formed a new landscape in the wrinkles of the paper.

I erased so much
the fiber of the paper cracked
and felt soft and smooth like cotton.

I stopped because my hand hurt and
I felt like what I was doing was useless.

After all that work,
all I had was a ripped sheet of paper
and a used-up eraser.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Haggadah Project, here we go!

I'm working on my illustrations, trying to make up for some lost time.  Working on the pages is making me so anxious for some reason.  It takes me forever to sit down and actually do them, and even though each one doesn't take very long to make it takes a long time to actually put brush to paper.

This painting will be the illustration behind motzi matzah (where we say the blessing over the matzah).  Imagine it without the watermark, and instead having the text formatted beautifully around and through the image.

(Read My first post about the haggadah project!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Art Room Ladies playlist

I am working on some playlists to bring to the different art groups that I run.  Generally, I don't put music with words on in the art room, but lately I have been rethinking that approach.  I started playing some Carol King in my women's group and I realized that sometimes songs with words have a place.  I've made an "art room ladies" playlist for the groups when we are making art about fun things, or making fun things.

Like yesterday, we are making fun sailor hats so that when we talk about what makes us feel special we can wear hilarious hats.  And I'd like for these hats to make a reappearance after we have discussions about heavy things, like what makes us feel angry or what makes us feel disappointed.

(I don't know if I mentioned this here, but we are working on a long-term project, a book about "What Makes You Feel..." with words like "special," "beautiful," "angry," "disappointed," "vulnerable," etc)

So here it is:

art room ladies
36 songs, 2.1 hours

Everyday Is A Winding Road - Sheryl Crow
Heal Over - KT Tunstall
Just A Girl - No Doubt
Dance Anthem of the 80's - Regina Spektor
Say Aha - Santogold
Finally Made Me Happy [Feat. Natalie... - Macy Gray
I Feel The Earth Move - Carol King
I Tried to Rock You But You Only Roll - Leona Naess
Ice Cream - Sarah McLachlan
Folding Chair - Regina Spektor
Better Version of Me - Fiona Apple
Halo - Beyonce
Sweet Rosalyn - Sheryl Crow
Come Round Soon - Sara Bareilles
Can't Hide - Sarah Jarosz
Four Walls - Charlotte Martin
How Sweet It Is - Joan Osborne
Record Collector - Lissie
Wish You Well - Katie Herzig
True Colors - Ane Brun
I Was A Daughter - Basia Bulat
Bad Body Double - Imogen Heap
Chasing Pavements - Adele
Hard Believer - First Aid Kit
Rhiannon (Single Version) - Fleetwood Mac
You Can Do It - No Doubt
M!ssundaztood - Pink
Miniature Disasters - KT Tunstall
Many Moons - Janelle Monae
Dog Days Are Over - Florence and the Machine
Strange Little Girl - Tori Amos
Mr Zebra - Tori Amos
I Saw A Bird Fly Away Feat. John Pop... - Dar Williams
Out Of My Sight - Frente
Giggling Again for No Reason - Alanis Morissette
You've Got A Friend - Carol King

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lilly in "Sleep Mode"

Lilly went into "sleep mode" (as my supervisor calls it, when the cat tucks her feet in and sits with her eyes closed), so I took some pictures.

Lilly has been begging for some extra attention the last couple of days, which is great, except for when that begging involves sitting directly in front of the computer screen in such a way that I really can't see anything at all.  She has a blanket on the windowsill but she never sits on it because it's too cold over there.  So I moved the blanket to the desk and she immediately went over and went into sleep mode.

The good thing about this for me is that now she is in prime position for me to annoy her all evening!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Filling a void

Part of the definition of "home" is a place where my guinea pigs are - the only mornings I've woken up without screaming pigs pretty much as long as I can remember have been mornings I've woken up somewhere else (vacation, camp, traveling, etc).  Part of the definition of "home" is the noise and the chaos of animals, and although guinea pigs don't contribute as much as dogs do, they do their share.  The last two mornings have been rough.  Lilly is noisy but not as noisy as a pig!  And most mornings she sleeps in.

I went on a really long walk today.  I went to six stores - four thrift stores and two furniture stores, to maybe look for a chair to sit in the spot where the guinea pig cage was.  The emptiness in that spot is really odd and jarring to me.  Probably not to anyone else, though.  I walked almost non-stop for three hours

I took some pictures.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Good-bye Fiona

Today Fiona passed away. She died at the ripe old age of (roughly) 7 1/2 years, after living in 5 different states (Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Illinois, New York), with two other pigs and a cat, and having more lettuce, peppers, carrots and hay than she knew what to do with. My little piggy-face :( I made this painting of her when I got home from one of my favorite pictures of her. She had the best piggy lips. We will miss you, Fiona!

More about Fiona's last illness and my other pigs here.

Haggadah Project

Blank pages, just waiting to be illustrated

My next big project...

A complete haggadah, fully illustrated by me :)

Yes, it's ambitious.  I have already set out my deadlines and figured out how many pages and illustrations I will need.  I will use this blog (as I did for my mural project) to inspire me and keep me going as I work all the way up until April 2.

This haggadah will contain the full traditional text, highlighting a few songs along the way (and at the end), as well as a little bit of commentary.  There won't be any specific "bend" to it, it's not a "feminist" haggadah or a "revolutionary" haggadah.  It's just a regular family haggadah... made by me.

The final project will be printed in limited quantities for me and my family to use, and then will be available for purchase in a few formats.  I'm hoping to have a cheap PDF downloadable format as well as a full-color printed format.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure these will be ready to purchase by Passover (my goal is to use them by then but I don't know if I can realistically pre-sell them), so follow along and maybe buy one for next year!

Since I'm not going to post this until after Found Object Art Month, I will continue to update this post until I reach Dec 5, when it will be officially posted... if that makes sense.


The great thing about having an outdoor space as large as ours is that in the warm months we can have parties, barbecues, and Shabbat meals out there.  The not as great thing is that it means sweeping leaves during all of the autumn months.

It makes me want to just jump in and play around in it.  However, there's a good chance there's cat poo mixed in there from our upstairs neighbors' cats, so I won't.

Friday, December 3, 2010

AATA Conference Booth

Here we are, selling at the 2010 American Art Therapy Association conference in Sacramento!  Of course, my ceramics didn't make it out of the kiln in time, so all I could sell was some of my watercolors.

I have a plan for combining my watercolor painting style and my ceramics... it's in the works, but it will be slow to come to fruition for sure.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ceramics what what

I got my ceramics pieces back from the kiln in November but I didn't want to interrupt Found Object Art Month too much by posting them.  SO.  Here they are!

I will try to remember what glazes I put on them.  YES.  I KNOW.  I should have a glaze journal.

This bowl (above) is  about 5" diameter, so not huge but a good size (it seemed huge when I was making it).

Outside: Ada's Ash
Rim: Plum
Inside: Blue Celery and Floating Blue

A small but nice sized bowl, probably good for ice cream.
Outside: Nutmeg and Floating Blue
Inside: Ada's Ash

I like to think of this as being the perfect cup for hot chocolate... no handle, so it will warm your hands while you drink it, but probably too large for tea (although the mugs I use for tea are pretty large).
Outside: Floating Blue
Rim: Plum
Inside: Ada's Ash

This bowl fell in the glaze bucket while I was trying to put Plum on the rim.  I dabbed it off with a sponge and I kind of love how it turned out.  Also, you can see my signature that appears on the bottom of all of my ceramic pieces (it's my name in English and Hebrew).  This bowl, as it is, isn't food safe because there are a couple of spots inside that are rough.  I may re-fire it to fill in the holes.  It would be a nice size to serve hummus, for example.

Inside: Blue Celery, Floating Blue and Plum
Outside: Ada's Ash and Plum

This is my second hot chocolate mug, pretty much exactly the same size as the first one.

Inside & Outside: Nutmeg under Floating Blue

My work is getting better and better.  I think I am driving the other people in the studio nuts with my disorderly glazing.  I'm like, let's see what happens when I do this!  And they're like, KEEP A GLAZE JOURNAL.  So this blog is kind of like my glaze journal.

I hope to built up a good amount of inventory and then start selling on etsy and in handmade markets by next year.  I'm hoping my debut will be the next AATA conference (in July), but only if they keep the marketplace on Thursday (as opposed to Friday night - aka, Shabbat - which up until now was the recurring time).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

JewishGuy and I decided not to exchange presents this year - instead, we went to the used book store and bought some new books.  When I was growing up we always got books for Hanukkah (among other things), so it seems only fitting to splurge and buy a bunch of books all at once right before the holiday.

My new books:

"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman
"The Best of Simple" by Langston Hughes
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" by B. Traven
"Slapstick" by Kurt Vonnegut
"Memories of My Melancholy Whores" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

JewishGuy's books:

"Silas Marner" by George Eliot
"Exist Ghost" by Philip Roth
"The American" by Henry James
"Dead Souls" by Nicolai Gogol
"Fathers and Sons" by Ivan Turgenev

So excited!

We figured out (based on the different display tables set up in the book store) that JewishGuy mostly reads "Classics" and I mostly read "Modern Classics."  So, okay.  Now I have a label for the kind of books I like.  I don't know which I'll read first!

(Also, Happy 97th birthday, grandma!)

"Radvent Journal" December 2010

I'm participating in Princess Lasertron's December 2010 Radvent Journal project!  I started making a visual diary last night but I'm not sure I will have time for that every day with all of my crazy projects!  So how about one visual diary entry a week, and I will try to keep a text version up here every day.

Since they will be long entries, click the link below the image to read my response!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Found Object Art Month Ends...

Well, it's certainly been fun.  

Found Object Art Month has been a challenge for me as a blogger, artist, and art therapist.  I'm going to use this post to serve as the blog-equivalent of a clip show, remembering the good times...

I've featured a few interesting blogs with recycling in mind.

I've given you a few ideas for found object art projects.

I've shown you a few artists who use recycled or found objects in their work (and some where you can purchase their work on etsy!)

And I've updated you on the progress of one of my own found object art projects that I'm doing with clients at work.

Oh, and so much more...

Tomorrow is a big gallery show and creative arts celebration at work, where all of the found object art projects will be on display.  Unfortunately, I can't show you any pictures from that event due to confidentiality, BUT I can promise you, it is really going to be awesome.

And now I leave you with one of my favorite found object artists (or, rather, two of them, they work together): Tim Noble and Sue Webster.  They use light and shadow on found objects to create AMAZING work. 

Image found in this blog post over at web designer depot, which also has examples of even more found object artists!!

Coming soon: a 'zine about running Found Object Art Month at your art therapy site!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Defining Home FINISHED

I can't believe it's finished!

Read about the original directive, my birthday and first progress post, and the last progress post.

This has been a great project to do with my group.  A month may have been too long for some people, and maybe not enough for others.  For me, it was the right amount of time.  I got to invest in my project, but not become overwhelmed or consumed by it.  I worked on it for about an hour a week for the whole Found Object Art Month at work.  Today, I took pictures of all of the clients' projects for a big creative arts celebration we're having on Wednesday, and I have to say I am really proud of what came out!

Since I can't show any of their work here, I will just conclude this directive with my finished piece.  I may also write a formal directive outline for future use (and to pass along to others).

See the individual pages below the cut.

Featured Blogs: Web Ecoist

At first, this wasn't going to be a Featured Blogs post, but as I looked around Web Ecoist I decided it was worth featuring so that hopefully you would take a look at some of their other posts, too.  But the post that inspired this post was...

32 Amazing Examples of Recycled Furniture 
at Web Ecoist

I would really like to copy the entire post here, but I won't, because that is bad bloggy karma.

(Images below are found in that post, I take no credit for their awesomeness)

One of the fun things I imagine about that CD chair is that it is really rolly.  Maybe that would make it hard to sit on - because you would keep rolling off - but it looks kind of fun.

I remember in undergrad there was a classic first project in one of the "Intro to 3D Fundamentals" class where the students were asked to make a functional chair out of recycled cardboard.  Though everyone always complained about that project, I thought it was amazing and was a little disappointed I never had that assignment.  (Instead, I had to create a life-size self portrait using only cardboard and re-bar wire, which was pretty fun I will admit and I wish I had a picture of what I made)

Anyway, this blog Web Ecoist is pretty interesting, and I recommend checking them out.  They have other quirky "eco" things to blog about, like living furniture:

I'm not sure if I like this, but I think I do. (Image credit and read more about green growing furniture)
. . .
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