Friday, January 28, 2011

Face Jugs

Face Jugs have a long history in the Southern US but nobody seems to know exactly their origins.  The most common stories are that they were invented as a way to warn children of the poisonous contents of the jars (be it arsenic or moonshine) or that they were meant to keep away evil spirits from the graves of family members.  Most believe the tradition began with slaves who worked pottery wheels for manufacturing goods and created face jugs for their own use.  One source even mentions that the face jugs may be an artistic coping technique, to deal with the harsh and oppressive conditions in which these people lived and worked.  The tradition of face jugs has continued to this day in many areas of the Southeast, especially in North Carolina and Georgia.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day!! (Part 2)

Today I went sledding in Central Park with my friend. To meet her I had to cross the park, which took me a while to do because I kept stopping to take pictures. The park was so beautiful today, covered in snow, and everywhere you could hear people laughing while they were sledding down different hills.

We went sledding for about an hour before we became exhausted.  My friend ran into me a few times, which was hilarious and painful at the same time.  Then we got hot drinks and took the subway home - turns out the buses are back in business so I didn't have to walk across the park on the way back.

Click below to see more pictures from my walk :)  No pictures of me sledding, it was too crazy to try to have my camera out at the same time!

Snow Day!!

This is the view from my patio this morning.  I love trees covered in snow.  Work is canceled today, which is exciting except that means I don't get the hours I need from today, but whatever.  I'm thinking of going sledding in the park.  I might have to McGyver a sled out of some cardboard boxes, though, since I am woefully unprepared...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm a Winner

When I went to the One of a Kind Show in NYC this Fall I entered a raffle at the booth and I won!  Today I got my winnings (a little peak in the collage above, sorry for the bad lighting).  As you can see, Lilly loves the tote.  I am so excited about all of these things!

  1. An tote bag, t-shirt, keychain, button pins, stickers, lip balm, and bumper sticker
  2. A 2011 calendar from
  3. A note card set from
  4. A thank-you card written on a cool orange cat letterpress notecard from
  5. A cup and saucer from
  6. A little make-your-own mini bunting cut-out from

This is the first time I've ever won anything in a raffle!  Hooray!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Featured Blogs: The Lady Cartoonist and the "A Scarf a Day" project

I found out about this awesome project from CRAFTzineMeredith Scheff (The Lady Cartoonist) is making a scarf every day for the month of January!  I know this is near the end of the project, but it's great to go back and look at all of the amazing scarves she's made.  It's pretty incredible.  I know I have a hard time with NaBloPoMo and that's just writing a blog post every day.  Imagine creating a new scarf every day!

My favorites are the organs scarf and the giant tuba scarf (both pictured above).  She also has a shower utility scarf, a scarf with bones felted into it, a scarf that is in the process of sprouting (literally, she planted seeds in it and put it in a bucket of water to sprout), and more and more and more!  What a fun and interesting project - to watch, I mean ... I can't imagine trying to do this myself!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Edible Art on TV

food jammers [image credit]
I just watched this episode of Food Jammers and I really had to share!

In "Gallery Eats Art" the Food Jammers try to make edible art.  They investigate making pigments out of food, screen printing onto crackers and crepes, painting on pizza dough, sculpture with gelatin and freezies, and more.  The pizza didn't actually make it up on the gallery wall because it dripped when they hung it, but it was a cool idea.

Obviously these guys are more interested in the technical aspects than the aesthetic aspects.  Or maybe I should say they probably didn't have enough time within the parameters of the show to really learn how to use the edible components.  A lot of their projects are more about the challenge of making it work on all of the necessary levels (taste, smell, sight, texture, etc) and not really in depth exploration of edible art, but what can you really say, it's a 30 minute episode.  Some of what they made was interesting, and they invited some friends to also submit work to the gallery.  My favorite was the preserved cabbage in a giant block of agar-agar, but it didn't taste very good (apparently).  I'm also impressed that they managed to make so many successful screen prints onto a cracker using edible ink.

pizza painting with edible pigments

When we were watching this show, JewishGuy said to me he wonders if these guys are chefs or if they're just a bunch of stoners who like to see what they can do with food or what gadgets they can make.  It's the Mythbusters of the food world, I guess.  In any case, it doesn't seem to matter if they are classically trained (culinarily speaking) because it's pretty fun to watch them futz around with machinery and gadgets.  As someone who appreciates the process sometimes more than the product, it's a pretty fun show to watch.  And though I'm not from Toronto, I've been there a lot and I recognize some of the places they end up (like the store "nuts make the world go round" - I think that's the name of the store - in this episode, I don't think I went in but I remember passing it once on the way to lunch with someone).

In any case, it made me interested in the idea of bringing food into art making, especially with clients.  Some people have done food projects in art therapy, but mostly just regular baking, not necessarily exploring food as an art material.  I'm interested especially in screen printing, potentially screen printing on cookies or cakes - what an interesting idea!

You might be able to watch the episode on ovguide, but I'm not sure it's really supposed to be up there, so I don't know how long it will last.  If not, check out the episode's page on for when it's on next and set your DVR if you're really interested!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A presenter is me

I've just been accepted to present my thesis at the 2011 American Art Therapy Association Conference!  How exciting!

The presentation is mostly going to be the same as my thesis workshop (minus the workshop part), but I might add a few slides to include questions/considerations that were brought up the first time I presented.  It's a 30 minute presentation, so not a full length "paper" presentation but rather a digital poster.  I was a little intimidated to do a full hour by myself, so this is the right amount of time and probably the right size crowd for my first solo professional presentation!

This, along with a presentation I'm doing next month with my supervisor and other intern at my site will help flesh out the "PRESENTATIONS" part of my resume - which is currently not there because I've only done the one.

This year's conference I'm planning to be all over the place.  I'll be selling my pottery in the marketplace, displaying work in the digital gallery, presenting, and will maybe even submit a 60 second film to the short film festival.  That along with going to presentations, the art studio, and maybe a workshop.  Because it's not too far I'll be there the whole time, instead of showing up Thursday afternoon like the last conference (Thursday morning seems to be the best day for presentations).  And I'll be throwing business cards all over the place because hopefully I will be looking for a job either in December or January once I finish my license.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Heart Funamals

In this video, Amy (the artist behind Funamals) describes Funamals, how she came up with it, her past as a dancer, and is generally hilarious and awesome.  If I lived in Michigan I would try to make Amy my friend.

When I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a wedding I bought up a ton of her stuff at Minty Keen.  This is a store you must visit next time you find yourself in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I bought mostly presents for other people but I also bought a kitty magnet and a set of "um, hi" crab note cards for myself.  I also frequently haunt her etsy shop.  LOVE! IT!  In addition to her paintings and stationary, she sells hand-made textiles and puppets, and has a few stop-motion animation videos on her website using her paintings.  She's prolific and whimsical and really has a sense of humor that comes through her work.

Watch the video, then buy her stuff.  There is nothing else you can do.

Oh yeah, there is something else you can do, you can visit her website: or her blog

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gramma's Gator

My gramma likes ceramics, too! She hasn't used the wheel much but she has taken many ceramics classes in the past and is now going to the ceramics class where she lives.  She hasn't gone much lately because her eyesight isn't what it used to be, which frustrates me because clay is something anyone can do (even people who have a hard time seeing - or can't see at all).  I'm not frustrated at gramma, but I wish the person running the class would make an effort to help her work with clay even with her sight issues, because she clearly likes it.  Well, I can't be the art therapist everywhere, I guess.  At least the person who does the jewelry making still encourages gramma to make necklaces, and I really think beading is harder than clay for people who have bad eyesight, so I don't know.  It really shows you how much the joy in art making depends on the facilitator.

Gramma gave me her alligator that she made in ceramics because I gave her my teapot.  I'm planning to give her another ceramics piece but not yet, I don't have anything I want to give her yet.  Just lots of bowls.  I love this alligator, especially because it has no teeth.  He kind of looks like a grampa gator.  She says his name is Ally the Alligator.  He's on display in the living room :)

Yesterday I went to visit gramma (my mom's mom) with my parents.  It's always fun to visit with gramma and I wish I had a car or an easier way to get up there.  I can get most of the way on public transit but there's 15-20 minutes of driving after the train stops and it's really hard to do that on a regular basis with cabs (or renting a car regularly to drive up there).  We never run out of stuff to talk about!  97 years old and she uses email.  Excellent.  Yesterday we talked about shopping, and how good bargains take a lot of work but can really be worth it.  She said she used to love to shop, especially at the discount stores that used to be at Union Square.  Well that explains my gramma's fashionable wedding dress!  It was, by the way, aquamarine, which I still can't get over... how awesome is that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How Art Made the World

How Art Made the World

I discovered this show the other day while flipping through channels and I was so excited.  My DVR is now recording every episode.  Check out the website, watch some images, and set your DVR!

The few minutes I caught was about Egyptian obsession with orderliness in their art.  They found a grid that creates a standardized system of drawing the human figure so that their style of drawing people would be maintained for centures.  Why?  Well, I guess I will have to watch the whole episode (More Human Than Human, the title of which makes me think of the White Zombie song).

Friday, January 14, 2011

New ceramic goals

I have discovered the dark brown clay at the studio and now it's all I want to use.  I just love it.  My favorite part of using it is that I don't feel like I need much glaze at all because I love the color of the clay so much.

top bowl
This technique I figured out by accident when I tried to wipe one of my other bowls because it had too much glaze on it.  I realized I really liked the crackled, faded look of the glaze, and so I set about to achieve it on purpose with the dark clay.

The top bowl just has one, thick coating of white glaze on it that I gently dabbed off with a sponge.  I left the inside untouched so it would stay sealed (for sanitary reasons).  The bottom bowl I made a while ago and I wasn't sure how it would turn out, so I couldn't resist dropping some green glaze on it.  I'm not sure how I feel about the green glaze, though, to me it kind of looks like someone sneezed on it.
bottom bowl

I went into the studio this week and made eight things.  I'm getting better at envisioning a shape and then creating it.  Sure, I have been able to make bowls, but their shape is largely by accident.  I've gotten to the point where I can make a decent shape and then trim it so it doesn't weigh five thousand pounds when it's finished, but now I want to be able to make what I want to make when I want to make it.  That was my task for myself when I went into the studio this week.

Not all of these pieces may make it to the finishing stage, but I am proud of them.  I don't have a picture yet but when they're trimmed and ready to fire I will take pictures!  I made four bowls, one tea cup, two mugs, and one hand washing cup (something like these, but I'm not sure of the finished shape or design yet).  I tried to make a plate but it was a disaster.  Plates are somehow so much harder than the other shapes!

My main goal right now is to make a ceramic cup.

I saw stepanka ceramics at the One of a Kind show this year and have fallen in love with her work.  I especially like the shape of her cups.  In a way, mugs are easy because they are short and wide.  Cups are hard because they are tall and narrow, very hard for me to throw right now.  Lots of people make cups this shape (usually called "tumblers") but when I saw her cups at the show I said to myself: I am going to make one of these!  Actually, I wish I had just bought one, because even when I get this shape mine will never have the same look as hers.

stepanka ceramics

Once I make a ceramic cup I hope I will decide on a new shape to conquer.  Maybe a platter.

I'm so excited that I've gotten to a level of throwing where I'm not struggling as much with the basic throwing technique anymore.  I can center my clay and generally make something out of it more often than not (on a good day).

Coming up I will show some pictures of an interesting coffee mug I designed based on an idea by my friend Jason.  It's still in the beginning stages so I might not show it until it's completely finished, but it's exciting!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Featured Blog: Make Something Every Day

WOW What an enormous undertaking!  This blog is posting one new project idea every day to inspire people to make something every day!  Okay, maybe I won't make each project every day (I think that is impossible), but I love this blog idea.

Of course, there is also a book full of daily prompts by the same author:

I definitely want to get this book!  What a fun idea... Even if I don't do it EVERY day, I could still work through the projects.  A bunch of them could work for a great art therapy group, don't you think?

Monday, January 10, 2011

I want my studio to look like this!

This is what I want my studio to look like.  I LOVE it.  It's so simple, pretty, inspiring and fun!

These photo (above and below) is from The Storque's post about the studio of Christine Tillman.  It makes me want to decorate my studio, which I re-organized two months ago.

Also, doesn't she seem like a neat person to know??

I love the hilarious stuffed cat about to maul her face, and those giant tree ring slices hanging out under her desk.

White is such an interesting color for a studio because you know you're going to make a mess all over it.  But at the same time, it looks like her studio space isn't much larger than mine (and has a sloped ceiling to boot), so the white opens it up.

Here is her etsy shop:

Check her out for some great paper products (from stationary to 3D work with paper).  LOVE IT.

My studio space hasn't much changed since when I redid it back on Halloween:

The room is a little over five feet wide (you can almost touch the walls if you stretch your arms out from side to side) so I had really minimal space to work with.  But making floor-to-ceiling shelves really helped open up the space in the back so I have room to move around.  I still have to cut large sheets of paper on the dining room table but I can do most of my work in here.  Even painting and block printing!  See my neat fold-up travel easel?

I love my studio space because I really have so many different kinds of art supplies I can do whatever project on a whim.  Painting (acrylic or watercolor), printmaking (block or screen), fabric dying, printing on fabric, found object or oven-bake-clay sculpture, sewing, drawing, photography, video editing, bookmaking, scrapbooking, jewelry, embroidery, whatever I want to work on, it's here.  It's kiiind of ridiculous and awesome at the same time.

Maybe I should make some fun paper chain decorations and hang them from the ceiling, too...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

We were out of town for a bit, so this is a picture from the airplane of the sunset just north of New York.

I have some great projects lined up for 2011, not just the haggadah, and I can't wait!
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