Saturday, January 30, 2016

Food porn

I have been creating like mad lately, both in my studio and in the kitchen. In the edible arena, I have had culinary inspiration from a recent trip to New Orleans where I actually got so sick of eating scrumptious, creamy, heavy, fried foods that I sought out a restaurant that had anything but po' boys and fried oysters on the menu. I found Green Goddess in the French Quarter, where I had a delicious duck salad. To be a little more specific:

To me, a vacation isn't successful unless I come home with either a few new recipes or ideas for new dishes from things I have eaten that I want to copy. This trip was more than successful. I have made shrimp remolaude, muffaletta sandwiches, shrimp and grits, beignets and several other dishes. Of course, I also made the duck salad, with a few tweaks. I pan-grilled the duck, made a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette and omitted the spec. But I had lots of honey-goat-cheese-stuffed dates, and I always have pepper jelly in the fridge. (OMG, it is so good with cream cheese on crackers. Really.) I had some pomegranate seeds in the fridge that needed to be eaten up so I sprinkled some on there for a crunchy pop of flavor. My salad was every bit as good as the restaurant version.

Next stop: Gumbo!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Painting with paper

Late last year, a friend sent me a link to a paper artist that she thought I might like:

I watched this video and (as always) marveled at the patience some people have. That's a quality that is clearly missing in me. One of my challenges as a creative person has always been slowing down and planning and thinking through a project. I tend to just attack.

(Years ago, I watched an inspiring Home and Garden television show about a house renovation. By the end of the show, I had taken a hammer and ripped out a basement window that had some rot around the window sill. Once the whole thing was out, I realized that I didn't have the right tools - or any knowledge - to build a new sill and had to call in a carpenter to finish the job.)

After I watched this video, I was sitting in my studio and thinking about painting with paper when my eyes drifted over to some tiny little boxes on my shelves, left over from years of a teaching a course on making dollhouse miniatures. Since I can never throw anything away, I recently added them to the shelf in my studio that holds various things I want to recycle. (I usually don't think of an idea and then make it. I try to figure out how to recycle something and a new item grows from the materials I want to use.) My first idea was to make a tooth fairy box and add some of my plantable paper confetti to the little vessel. It was a decent enough idea but not stunning.

But after watching the video — and since I was simultaneously trying to come up with ideas for Christmas ornaments — I thought I might try "painting with paper" to make a little scene inside the box that would make a sweet ornament. This photo was at the beginning of the project:

The ornament ended up selling and I forgot to take a picture of the end product but I was happy with the technique, the ability to use scraps of paper in a creative way and I liked painting with paper. Then I started playing around with ideas of things in the box and made this ornament of a baby swaddled and curled up inside:

I have many more of these boxes that I want to experiment with. I am so happy to have found such an inspiring video that was such a valuable jumping-off point for creativity. Makes me think of one of my favorites quotes:

"It's not about what it is, it's about what it can become" -The Lorax

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Alphabet paper

A while back, a shop owner on Etsy asked me if I could use the paper waste from her scrapbooking shop in any of my papermaking. I never say no to free paper so I happily accepted a big bag of interesting paper scraps, including a bunch of letters, punched from green paper. What the heck … I tossed them into the vat at the end of a batch of white paper and pulled a bunch of sheets. The paper shown here is the result, with cool streaks of green bleeding from the letters. I don't have any specific use for the paper — it was just one of those curiosity experiments — so I threw it into my Etsy shop. If you are interested, get it here:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A dish rack?

I love old things, scruffed-up things, things with histories, and I love using them in my displays of my artwork. I especially love old wooden boxes, racks and crates. I was looking around one of my favorite stores this week and noticed this odd wooden piece that looks like it came out of a barn somewhere - and might have given the amount of gunk that came off of it when I cleaned it. A tag that was attached to it said it was an old wooden drying rack for dishes but somehow I am not sure that was its original purpose. I immediately gravitated to it and started thinking about how I could use it in my house. I was looking it over when the idea struck me to plop some cards in it and make it into a display rack for an upcoming show where I need some extra display space. Love it!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Woodland wonders

I love a treasury with the rich colors and the cozy feeling of a woodland scene. Thanks to the creators for featuring my plantable papers!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Plants from seeds

Just had a customer contact me to show me the plants that she has grown from seeds, embedded in the paper that she bought from me in October 2014. How nice of her to think of me after so much time has passed. Thanks Cathy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DIY for Valentine's Day

Thanks to A Magical Affair for featuring my tutorial on how to make your own plantable paper wedding favors!

You can get the tutorial for yourself here:

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, don't forget about this project for party favors, as well as classroom and teacher gifts, with that wonderful handmade touch with a DIY budget!

Friday, January 1, 2016

New year, new possibilities

2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting year! Right before Christmas, I was contacted by Micropolis — a cool artist's cooperative in Gloversville, New York — to have a gallery show of my Petal People in March and April. I had never been there before so I took a ride over to check it out and liked what I saw. It's a very nicely juried gallery, connected to a high-end food co-op which brings in exactly the market of customers who like my work. And Gloversville has a really interesting history. It was so named because the town was once the hub of America's glove-making industry with over two hundred manufacturers in the little town.

So I said yes! I put together my very first show last year and had about 6 months to work out what I wanted to make. But this opportunity at Micropolis means that I have to get my show together in less than two months. I have my work cut out for me but I am so glad for it. I had already decided that I really didn't want to spend January and February making custom wedding orders as I have done every year for the past 6 or so, and this is just the opportunity that I needed to fill the creative vacuum without sacrificing income.

When I participate in any kind of craft show or gallery show, I try to make much more work than I will use so that I can have a wide assortment from which to choose, in order to put together the very best display, and to arrange the work that looks best together. I already started to play around with some botanicals to get warmed up and created these two figures:

The dancing one ended up selling right away so I think I am going to take my show in that direction, creating looser figures that are moving with carefree abandon. Better get busy!

For more information on my show, watch these Micropolis sites for detailed info:

Happy New Year!