Still Alive!

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Thought I’d pop on here and write another check-in sort of post as I have been MIA for some months (Yay Grad School!). My blog, my Youtube channel, my Twitter, and my Facebook page all seem to have gone dark recently while I’ve been scrambling to stay afloat this semester. I’ve still been posting to my personal Facebook, though – and I had started to write another post there when it occurred to me that perhaps I can just start posting some of those things here instead. Sound good? Ok!

List of Things I Want to Eventually Do (But Currently Don’t Have Time For):

  1. Make more doll clothes – I have all of these ideas in my head of epic outfits I want to make! So much 1/6 scale Cosplay in my mind!
  2. Learn Turkish – Ok, so I actually started learning some Turkish last summer via Skype lessons with Mehmet Seyhan (I encourage you to check out his Youtube channel. He teaches both Turkish and Japanese). Unfortunately, I was unable to stick with the Skype lessons because of the demands of grad school and have lost part of what I did learn…
  3. Learn how to play the spoons – Have you ever heard anyone play the spoons? This is just cool.
  4. Get back into fiddle – I actually started playing the fiddle 11 years ago, inspired by the fiddler for a local Celtic band I was enthralled with in undergrad. I wasn’t the greatest at it, but one can only get better with practice. I haven’t touched it in years.
  5. Learn Irish – I’ve been enthralled with Gaeilge since I was in 7th grade. However, I never had many resources for learning it until recent years and no one to really practice with.
  6. Learn Irish Dancing – Another thing I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. But I lived in a small midwestern town where there weren’t many outlets for it and the couple there were, I wasn’t even aware of until I was in undergrad. And now I am much too old for any of the schools I have access to.
  7. Return to Aikido – I started studying Aikido when I was 17. (This is where the “aiki” in my Twitter handle aikifox85 and bookstore AikiFox Books comes from) I was passionate and very involved for a number of years. And then I moved to Champaign 11 years ago when I transferred from community college to the University of Illinois in undergrad and no longer had the time and money to continue. Or rather, I prioritized other things.
  8. Learn Hindi – I know a handful of words and a few sentences that I’ve picked up from movies and from Indian friends over the years. I started trying to teach myself around the same time I started this blog, actually. As is a common theme for me, I got distracted with other things. I still have the books, though.
  9. Make a quilt for myself – I made that Batman quilt for my brother some years ago, which he still has and sleeps with regularly, but have not made another quilt since. And I never *did* manage to go anywhere with the Nataraja quilt idea I had…
  10. Travel – So many places I want to visit! I want to go to India, Turkey, and Ireland most. I want to see Canada, especially Nova Scotia. I want to visit places here in the US as well that I have never seen. Fun Fact: Prior to meeting my boyfriend, I had actually started the paperwork to join the Peace Corps. For better or worse, I chose to stay and invest my time and energy into exploring and then building that relationship. I still feel that pull to venture outward, though.

There are so many wonderful and exciting things in this life, so much to do, to see, to learn – more than can be experienced in a single lifetime. And this is leaving aside the fact that in many cases time and/ or money are luxuries people do not have. And now, back to homework – in the hopes that someday I will have the time and the money in which to do all of these things.

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Re-Use Art Show: The New IDEA Store Event Space

Above: Classic photo recursivity – me taking a picture of Melissa Mitchell taking a picture of me taking a picture of her…

Long time readers of this blog will recall both my love of art and my previous posts about The IDEA Store and creative re-use art. On two separate occasions I participated in the Hatch Art Show. Recently, The IDEA Store expanded to include a new classroom as well as event space. This past weekend, on May 20th, 2016 to be specific, they held their grand opening of said event space. My camera and I were in attendance.

Before I get to the actual art, I’d like to share this photo of area artists Cindy Sampson and Melissa Mitchell. I don’t think I can fully express just how wonderful these two women are and how much they inspire me. Not only are they talented artists but they are good, kindhearted people and great friends. While I had taken a couple of standard photos of these two together, I managed to snap this shot in the midst of genuine laughter and storytelling.

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And now, on to the art! These are only a small representation of the works currently on display at the IDEA Store gallery – my understanding is that they’ll be on display through at least June 3, 2016.

 

 

David Spears, “Conundrum”

I just thought this was a really interesting and clever way to use all the stray puzzle pieces that end up scattered about.

Christina Nordholm, “Dance Club”

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Christina Nordholm, “Ready to Burn”

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I particularly like the way she incorporates tree bark into these pieces. I really enjoy the texture. Of the two, I prefer “Ready to Burn” because I personally enjoy the energy coming from it. I’m not sure whether it’s more like looking into the heart of a bonfire or Hell itself. Either way, I like it.

Grace Savina, “Paintings Past”

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I’m not quite sure what it is I’m looking at, but I kind of like that she managed to find a way to use old paint scraps. They almost look like little islands.

Grace Savina, “Dualities of Being”

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Again, not sure what the artist intended for these to be, but, to me, they look like really colorful intestines. Like someone gutted a unicorn. Or it exploded and this was just a section of gut splatter. I kind of doubt this is what she was going for, but this is where my warped mind took it.

Barry Land, “Love is Dead”

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I always get a kick of out this kind of artwork. I have absolutely NO skill for it myself, but scrap-metal sculptures always make me smile. This one also makes me sad, though.

Barry Land, “Untitled”

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Perhaps “Ode to Johnny 5” would have been copyright infringement? And yeah, he also looks like Wall-E. But we all know Wall-E was just a rip off of Johnny 5. If you don’t know who Johnny 5 is, I feel sorry for you, bro.

Jason Rackow, “Untitled”

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Jason Rackow, “Sentience”

This is one of those pieces I would totally hang in my apartment, provided I had the money and the space. I don’t really have anything profound to say here, this piece is just Cool. As. F**k. Look that the close-up shots of that texture. Who knew all those little bits and pieces scattered about the garage could look like this?

Cindy Sampson, “Landscape”

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Cindy Sampson, “Lone Tree”

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I wish I could have gotten a better shot of this one. This was actually my favorite piece of the show and I couldn’t even really capture why. Because I’m too short and it was hanging too high for me to get a head on shot. The glare from the lighting at this angle does this piece a serious injustice.  I’m sure you can make out the main tree of in the painting. It seems to stand amidst a field of ghost trees. What you cannot see well in this photo, is that the paperwork underneath has faded building plans printed on it. To me, it seems to say suggest that this tree lost all of it’s friends and family to ever increasing urban expansion.The fruit and rust stains have the look of blood to me. Yeah, my mind is dark. I am very drawn to artwork like this where I can find and this kind of haunting meaning in it. It’s the kind of art the speaks to me on some deeper level.

 

 

 

Handmade Lammily Fashions – Inspirations

Have you seen the Handmade Lammily Fashions group over on Facebook? I started this group just a month ago and there are already 116 members. I find so much inspiration in seeing all of these talented individuals posting pictures of their creations. I love seeing people create and develop personalities for their dolls. I see the way members help each other by sharing advice, tips, and discoveries and the way they all compliment each other and it lifts my spirits on a bad day. Here are some of the clothes made by members who have given me permission to share their work:

Amber McGlynn:

AmberTMcGlynn1 AmberTMcGlynn2 AmberTMcGlynn3

Armel Pélardy‎:

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Deborah Griggs:

DeborahSGriggs1 DeborahSGriggs4 DeborahSGriggs3 DeborahSGriggs2

Deluded Martita:

DeludedMartita5 DeludedMartita4 DeludedMartita3 DeludedMartita2 DeludedMartita1

Julie Soper:

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Oph Bruneau:

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There are many more wonderful works over on the group page. I encourage you to give it a look 🙂

Thoughts About: Embroidered Textiles by Sheila Paine

A couple of posts back, one of my readers gave me what has been perhaps the nicest compliment I have been paid to date. She commented upon the amount of thought and research I put into my posts, and that really made my day.  I am always reading and doing research on different textile traditions, DIY procedures, symbolism, etc. I thought I might give an overview and share a few of my thoughts on what I feel are some of the more influential works I have encountered. I will henceforth call this category of posts “Thoughts About”.

The last couple of weeks I have been reading Embroidered Textiles: A World Guide to Traditional Patterns by Sheila Paine. I borrowed a copy from my local library, but after having read it, I will certainly be purchasing a copy to add to my bookshelf for continual reference.
This book is full of brilliant, stunning photos and information about embroidery from around the world. She breaks the information down into 4 chapters.

The first of these is “Guide to Identification” which breaks down major traditions by region and points out key identifying elements of the embroidery work. I have to give her props for including a brief mention of Hmong (which she refers to as Miao… which is indeed another name, but by and large they prefer to be called Hmong) and their work, which I wholeheartedly admire.

Chapters two and three, “The Decorative Power of Cult” and “Religion and its Patterns” respectively, deal with symbolism within embroidery as it relates to the divine and otherworldly. Both chapters look at meanings and how some of the representations have changed through time.  The only real difference between the chapters is that “cult” refers to earlier objects of worship such as the sun and the goddess and significant events like hunting, whereas “religion” is meant to refer to major religions as we know of them them today with their rules and structure, such as Christianity and Buddhism.

The final chapter, “The Magical Source of Protection”, looks at decoration as charm or talisman. Locations of stitchwork, beads or trinkets that are added into the embroidery, even the colors used all have a function and a meaning.

I love this book because it is such a rich source of information on symbolism and communication within textiles around the world… everything that I am interested in and that this blog serves to discuss. I will likely be referencing this book again and again in the future. 🙂