Here are my pages from the past week of #ListersGottaList. Boy, the days are adding up fast and the little notebook is getting thicker and thicker! Click on the images to see them larger in a pop-up window.
One of the REALLY COOL things about being involved in the artists' collective shop, Artfish42, is this wider community of area artists we now get to meet. Michael J Clocks, a mixed-media sculptor working with recycled electronics, is one of these artists.
Michael was busy working on an installation for Smoke and Mirrors Parlor this past winter. Imagine my delight when I heard that he'd purchased a bunch of my mini composition book sets and was sketching in them. Of course I had to see! I love minis and sketching in pretty much equal measure, so you hafta know that I was crazy about the detail he was able to achieve on a small scale.
This was also the first time I'd seen the wall that he'd created for Smoke & Mirrors. Part sculptural, part mural, this piece is captivating -- futuristic, other-worldly and incredibly-detailed. Not only that, but it's a marvel to consider that it was created from discarded and recycled items.
Since I work with tweens and teenagers at the very end of their long school day, I've found it real important to show samples (my own and online references) that will entice them to dig in and make stuff.
(The above devil has faux fur for eyebrows and goatee, and a balloon for a nose. Arms are made in three parts and are jointed with brads.)
I brought in a wide variety of supplies for them -- brown and colored bags (party stores are a good source), yarn, felt, paper, googly eyes, etc. I was influenced by Fandango's unconventional items being used for hair, so I also brought in some ancient, uncooked twisty pasta that I found here at the Manse.
WORD OF CAUTION: Tweens and Teenagers will EAT ancient, uncooked twisty pasta, especially if they're trying to impress a love interest. So maybe don't bring in ancient pasta for them to use. THINGS I'VE LEARNED I SHARE WITH YOU NOW!
I'm a part of an artists' collective and we've been working so hard getting ready for the opening of our shop, ArtFish42. Tomorrow's the day!
In addition to crafting minis and finger puppets, toys, pillows, and cozies, I've been busy packaging and creating the display for my Slice of Retail Heaven.
This framed pegboard display for my miniatures came together like a dream, and how often does THAT happen? I'd gotten some inspiration and tips from poking around on Pinterest. I found this large frame at Hobby Lobby, and it was very accommodating with its color, its size and the fact that it came sans glass. I got the pegboard at Home Depot. They cut it down for me and were SO HELPFUL with application ideas. I went with a wood glue and glazier points tag-team. Beautiful, baby! The metal holders also came from Home Depot.
Last year I got to make a variety of puppets with the middle school kids in the after school program. I was stoked to be able to do this, as even before getting this job, I'd been creating a massive notebook full of all types of puppets and puppet theaters, and had already been working on samples. I'd started this self-inflicted project with the thought that it'd be good discipline for me and I thought I'd be able to shape a class from it. Isn't it just SOooo serendipitous that I was primed and ready to do just that a couple of months later?
After hemming and hawing at first as to whether spoon puppets are too "babyish" for this age group, I decided they aren't. My benchmark is usually, "Do I still want to make ______?" and if the answer is YES, then the decision is that there's still something to be gained from the venture. I scoured the house for any and all plastic spoons, then on to Party City for a wide variety of colors that I felt sure would trigger the kids' imaginations.
To counterbalance this "babyish" notion, at least for myself, I made KISS puppets, 1. because I had white spoons, and 2. because this age group leans a little too heavily in ONE DIRECTION (if you know what I mean) and I felt I needed to counterbalance that as well. (I figured none of the kids would even know who or what KISS was, but they did -- their PARENTS like them... funny. One girl set to work straightaway on working on her own KISS puppets.)
I'm in the throes of making miniatures for sale and this past week I made a series of PIZZAS and PERSONAL PAN PIZZAS. After I made the pizzas my Inner Child let me know how much CUTER it would be if I included a MINI PIZZA BOX in the package. Naturally I indulged her, because not only does my Inner Child know her toys, I also trust her business sense. Design inspiration for the box came from Luigi, the Italian chef finger puppet who owns a restaurant in my small town, Beetlegrass.
I designed the pizza boxes in my usual manner which includes graph paper prototypes (I'm old-fashioned and tactile), then using Photoshop for final layout and typography. Luigi has been learning about how important BRANDING is for his business, so he suggested that his checkered pants become a central part of the logo design. I love when my clients pitch in with ideas!
The boxes were printed on white cardstock. I spray-mounted brown lunch bag paper to the reverse side to make the interior of the box look more realistic. I used two sizes of paper punches to create an opening tab and ventilation holes.
Last year at the after-school art program for middle schoolers, I taught a unit on cartooning and caricatures. If EVER there was a perfect age group for caricaturing, it's middle schoolers. Caricatures are all about "picking out notable elements of a person's physical appearance" then "exaggerating them for grotesque or comic effect". Since middle schoolers do this all the time with their classmates and are told NOT TO, and anti-bullying groups are formed to PREVENT "exaggerating physical appearance for grotesque or comic effect", this is the perfect opportunity to take them off their leashes and let them have at.
I had a variety of photo references for the kids (celebrities, sports figures, politicians), held them in my hands in Pick-a-Card-Any-Card fashion and let them select. The Justin Bieber photo reference resulted in wild pandemonium between two teenaged girls: squealing and tug-of-war and running around the room. I had to put them both in "step" (how this school handles transgressions), and cautioned them with a drily-delivered, "Maybe next time a little less hysteria?"