Monday, April 28, 2008

My wonderful Family and Birthday Week...

Kicked off my birthday week (YES!!! I make them celebrate it all week, and the older I get, the more time I add on... soon, it will be my birthday month!) Really, only because I had all 4 kids under the same roof at the same time. Those of you with older kids know what I mean... It is hard with jobs and extra curricular activities to get them all together... My mom and stepdad and my Aunt Joan came to celebrate too. I went to the flea market early in the morning, (I will post pictures of my schwag later) and the kids cleaned the yard, pulled weeds, cleaned the house, made me a cake and banners, my resourceful daughter even went over to the neighbors house and asked to pick some of her roses to make me a bouquet... (She knows how much I miss my rose bushes) My 13 year old son Zack barbequed pork loin, chicken and ribs. It was one of my best birthdays ever. This is the first time my kids have all worked together to do something for ME... and it was really sweet... I forgot to photograph the cake... A triple layer chocolate, fudge and milk chocolate cake with homemade frosting, before we cut it... My boys ran out of powdered sugar, so they ground granulated sugar in the coffee maker to powder it up... very ingenius of them I must say... It didn't work, but the cake was still delicious... Little Kayleigh and Adrianna my niece cleared the table and washed the first round of appetizer dishes, (spanish potato omelette, or tortilla as they call it in Spain, like a fritata with eggs, onion and potatoes... really yummy)and then my mom did all the dinner dishes. I feel so spoiled...
Pascual usually gets off work at 6 or 6:30... He told his boss last week, "Hey I gotta leave at 5 on Tuesday, it is my wife's birthday and if I am late, I am dead..." His boss says, "Well, who wears the pants in your house?" and Pascual says, "Same as in yours... the WIFE" that CRACKED me up... Actually, he came with this programming already installed... I have to give his mama the lovely Feli the compliment... her son is one in a billion, and I am the lucky one who got him... He has some surprise planned for me, but I don't know what... I told him no gifts... cause my trip to Artfest was my gift... but he says he already got it a long time ago...
I am so working on compacting our life... I don't need more stuff... Now, when the kids say they need something, I tell them to focus on it, and attracting it to themselves... and usually within a week, it comes into the Hall Closet as a donation, I get it cheap and bring it home to them... We are into recycle and reuse, and are trying not to buy anything that we don't absolutely need... it is hard, but it has made my kids not be label conscious. They are not trendy in the Abercrombie way... they are trend setters, Megan with her retro look was voted most unique in high school, and the boys with their own surfer grunge style... Kayleigh is just happy with anything that is new to her. Most of her stuff is hand me downs, and she absolutely doesn't care... It is new to her, and when she is done with it, we donate it to the Closet so the next person can enjoy it.. I am blessed with a bunch of kids that are eco friendly recycle and reusers.. My son goes dumpster diving with his dad, and also they pick through people's stuff on the side of the road during the big yard clean up days in the neighborhood.. they call that sidewalk shopping... He got a bike and a computer and a tv and dresser that way... I have never once heard my kids say, "eeewww... it is USED, I want a NEW one..." they just say "COOL! Thanks mom, it is perfect, I love it..." We are doing good on the Attitude of Gratitude around here...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Hike

We went on a hike with the kids in the park behind our house yesterday. Zack took us to see this swing he and his friends found... You have to go down a steep path, cross some boards covering a sticky sulfur smelling primordial ooze... and end up on the other side, in a clearing where a big oak tree juts out over a hillside... Some brave soul climbed up there and tied a huge rope swing in the tree, and when the kids swing on it, they go way out over the clearing. Watching them and their antics, trying to get on the swing were hilarious. Zack (aka Evil Kenevil) was the bravest, climbing in from the tree and pushing off. The other kids just got on from the bottom of the clearing and were pushed...

I remember loving to swing when I was a kid. Megan especially loves it. She had found a swing on the hillside at our other house in a place she called "The Secret Spot". Someone cut that one down. I never went cause Pascual said the hill was very steep and difficult to climb. I am no climber... The kids said on that one, you felt like you were flying.

My friend Karen has a swing in her back yard that does that too... One time at a get together at her house, we all got on the swing and she photographed us.. I have a great photo of me on it laughing, in a dress, and it did feel like flying! I had forgotten that wierd sick queasy feeling you get when the ground is rushing under you and you toss your head back and scream from deep down in your gut. The pure thrill of it is exhilirating! I stopped filming right at the end as he screamed... but if you listen you can catch a little bit of it before the clip stops... Next time we are going to take some snacks, maybe a little picnic and hang out there a bit longer... It was so fun!

Friday, April 25, 2008

For my Mama

I made this book for my mom on Mother's day 2002. I remember I had seen a book someone made for a friend, and really loved it, so I totally copied the idea. Mine was much simpler, but it was so nice to make. It is always nice to get a gift book from someone who loves you, telling you how much you are loved. My best birthday present ever was a scrapbook made by my friend Karen, that all my friends created pages for. Each one of them contributed words and layouts that told me what they loved and admired about me. So much love went into that book. So much time from everyone, especially Karen, organizing it and putting it all together. I think... there is no greater gift that to get something made from the hands of those who love you.... I was reading the book I gave my mom the other day, and I started to cry... I forget about how creative I can be. I forget that I can be very profound and touching with my words... I take a lot of my talents for granted. It is getting tattered from so many people reading it. It has a place of honor up on a shelf above her fireplace... and she shows it to everyone who comes over... When I made it, I just wanted to give her something to remind her of what a great mom she has been to me. As I sat there reading it, I realized she has been more than a mom to me. She has been my best friend, my confidante, my spiritual counselor and healer, my spa and manicure buddy, my shopping pal, my wine tasting partner... Every significant thing I have ever done in my life, she has been there, cheering me on... sometimes ill, sometimes with tears of joy in her eyes as she cheered from the sidelines... I am so blessed that she is my mother. I am lucky beyond belief... I won the parent lotto with her. How did she learn to be such a great mom? She was only 17 when I was born... still a kid herself. She may not have had a high school diploma, but she has a masters degree in love. No one loves like my mom does. No one I know has her huge capacity to invoke change and create beauty just by being in the room. She has her struggles, she is not perfect... but she is there, 100%... all the way every time... Loving me, and showing me by example how truly loving I can be... just by watching her.

So I wanted to share this book with you all. We have been talking about motherhood and moms on the altered divas group on Yahoo... I had to take a few minutes, and show the world how truly great my mom is!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Youth Art Program Mondo Beyondo

OK... many of you know about my big Mondo Beyondo idea. Some of you have heard pieces... It is starting to happen!!! The more I put the word and intention out there, the more I get back from the artist community, and the community in general.

There is such a need to reach kids at risk. Art can be that vehicle. Using recycled art parts to create green, recycled, repurposed art is a start. Teaching kids self esteem, while encouraging their creative self expression promotes a foundation for entreuprenurial thinking. Creating a cooperative program with the community insures that everyone benefits...

I am currently looking for art ideas and compiling data for my grant funding proposal.

Please email me if:
You know of a link to any kind of art program using recycled materials, or programs involving youth, kids or at risk youth and art
If you are currently involved in a similar project, and would like to share ideas
If you are interested in participating in these pilot programs in California, Florida and Michigan
If you are interested in starting one of our programs for kids in your community
If you have an interest in teaching a medium or providing class samples and instructions
If you would like to be a board member
If you have any information about juvenile probation, social services, or mentoring at risk youth
If you are a teacher or artist looking for low cost art materials
if you have a computer graphic arts background and like teaching kids

I have been overwhelmed with the generosity of people out there. Donations and links and information has been pouring in. I know if I just keep putting it out there, it will all come together at rapid speed. This is a program near and dear to all our hearts. Our kids need this, and it is being taken out of the classrooms at alarming speed. It serves an important purpose. Lets all stand up for the kids and show that together, we can make a difference... by recycling, repurposing and coming together to create beauty from garbage.

With lots of love and hope

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Something I Remember from childhood

I have received some emails on my contribution to the Creative Therapy website on Catalyst #4 asking what the poems were, because they are not legible on the page. So for those who asked, here they are... Get the tissue box first.

I was sitting in my study,
Writing letters when I heard
"Please dear mama, Mary told me
Mama mustn't be disturbed.
"But I's tired of the kitty;
Want some ozzer fing to do.
Writing letters, is ou mama?
Tan't I wite a letter too?"
"Not now, darling, mama's busy;
Run and play with kitty, now."
"No, no mama, me wite letter;
Tan, if 'ou will show me how."
I would paint my darling's portrait
As his sweet eyes searched my face.
Hair of gold, eyes of azure,
Form of childish, witching grace.
But the eager face was clouded,
As I slowly shook my head,
Till I said: "I'll make a letter Of you,
darling boy, instead."
So I parted back the tresses
From his forehead high and white,
And a stamp in sport I pasted
'Mid its waves of golden light.
Then I said, "Now, little letter,
Go away and bear good news."
And I smiled as down the staircase
Clattered loud the little shoes.
No one saw the front door open
No one saw the golden hair
As it fluttered o’er his shoulder
In the crisp October air.
Down the street the baby hastened
Till he reached the office door.
"I'se a letter, Mr. Postman;
Is there room for any more?'
Cause dis' letter's doin to papa,
Papa lives with God, 'ou know,
Mama sent me for a letter,
Do 'ou fink at I tan go?"
But the clerk in wonder answered,
"Not today, my little man."
"Den I'll find anozzer office,
'Cause I must go if I tan."
Fain the clerk would have detained him,
but his pleading face was gone
and the little feet kept scurring
as the busy crowd swept on
Suddenly the crowd was parted,
People fled to left, to right,
As a pair of maddened horses
At the moment dashed in sight.
No one saw the baby figure-
No one saw the golden hair,
Till a voice of frightened sweetness
Rang out on the autumn air.
'Twas too late, a moment only
Stood the beauteous vision there,
Then the little form lay lifeless
Covered o'er with golden hair.
Rev'rently they raised my darling,
Brushed away the curls of gold,
Saw the stamp in sport I’d pasted
Growing now so icy cold.
Not a mark or face disfigured,
Showing where the hoof had trod;
But the little life had ended-
Papa's letter was with God.

The night was dark and stormy,
The wind was howling wild.
A patient mother watched beside
The deathbed of her child.
A little worn out creature,
His once bright eyes grown dim;
He was the collier's only child,
They called him Little Jim.
And, oh, to see those briny tears
Fast hurrying down her cheeks;
She offers up a prayer in thought
But was afraid to speak.
Lest she might wake the son She loves
far better than her life,
For there was all a mother's love
In that poor collier's wife.
Uplifted hands and so she kneels
Beside the sick child's bed.
She prayed, "O God, please spare my son
And take my life instead.
"She gets her answer from the boy,
Softly falls the words from him,
"Oh, Mother, the angels do so smile
And they beckon Little Jim."
"I have no pain, dear Mother now,
But oh, I am so dry,
Just give poor Jim another drink
And, Mother, please don't cry.
Tell Father when he comes from work
I said 'good night' to him
And now I think I'll go to sleep.
"'Twas the last from Little Jim.
The cottage door swung open,
The collier’s step was heard;
The father and mother met
But neither spoke a word.
He knew that all was over,
He knew his child was dead;
He took the candle in his hand
And walked toward the bed.
His trembling lips give token
Of grief he tries to conceal;
Now, see, his wife has gained him,
The stricken couple kneel.
With hearts bowed down in sadness,
They humbly ask of Him
In heaven, once more to meet
Their one and only Little Jim.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

List of things for a Virgin to know about Artfest

1. Don't pack too much art supplies... just your basics will be fine... there is plenty of things to be had in the Art Assylum. I didn't use much of what I brought that wasn't for a class.

2. Take LOTS of photos of everything, including people you meet. I met so many lovely people, and did not take their photos... Take photos with your instructors too. It helps if you want to contact people afterward if you have a photo you can attach to your message...

3. Come a few days early if you can to get all the shopping in... or stay a little longer afterward. You miss a lot of activities by going out to dinner and spending a lot of time in town shopping in the evenings, and most of the stores close at 6. There are a LOT of cool stores in the town.

4. I didn't stay in the dorms, but would like to on a future visit. They were not fancy, but the camraderie to be had there can't be beat... I went into the common room of 202 and those ladies were having a LOT of fun in there visiting and drinking wine and arting the nite away. If you connect with people in the dorms on the Yahoo group, definately take the time to meet up with them one nite in the dorm to check it out...

5. Take the time to go beach combing... I found some cool driftwood on the beach.

6. I did not have thermal weather clothes, just regular pants, sweatshirts and fleece jacket and a warm windbreaker, and I was perfectly warm the times I went out... Only time I got really cold was riding on the Duck with the windows down... the wind was chilly then and my face was cold... but otherwise, it was not as bad as I expected and I am a BABY when it comes to cold...

7. My trick with the 2 suitcases was a lifesaver. Take a small one, and pack all your clothes into it, then put it inside a bigger one. You can pack a few sweatshirts in the space leftover in the big one and you still have PLENTY of room to bring things back, and take a rolling backpack on the plane as your carry on, for extra space.

8. I would ship all my class supplies next time. That made things really easy. Just be sure you have a way to ship them back to yourself. There is a UPS office in town, but you would need to send it back Friday right after you finish your classes. Unless you have a local friend who can do it for you.

9. Be sure to join the Artfest Yahoo group and sign up for the fatbook and ATC books and other swaps. They are fun, and the work is beautiful. I love my ATC book. It is also a great place to connect with other Artfesters, make new friends and get the Artfest momentum rolling..

10. Allow yourself the gift of going with the flow. I went with no plan, and it all just came together perfectly. Each day was an adventure, and I had so much fun just going where the day took me. If you can't function without a plan, at least allow yourself the opportunity to explore new genres and learn as many new techniques as you can from people .

The last day of Artfest

I've been very busy getting ready to give birth to my big kids project her in my area working with at risk youth. Stay tuned for more details... And I didn't forget the giveaway... I just can't find my bag of trades at the moment to photograph them... I will post them soon too!

Saying goodbye to the darling Katie's Cottage where I stayed. Within walking distace of the fort, but not at nite in the very very dark, and loaded down with a ton of supplies.... but a good optionn and value all the same, once I figured out how to work the heat. I froze the first night... but the rest of the time I was very cozy. We drove around on the way back instead of taking the ferry. It was fun crossing this bridge that reminded me of a small green Golden Gate. I wanted to see Orca's... but never did. Next year, I am taking a few extra days and I will go to the San Juan's which is where I am told you can see a lot of them...

It was back to the airport with Ellen and Jo and a car loaded down to the rims with stuff. I don't think any of us got a picture, but I was AMAZED at all the stuff we crammed into that little Prius... Ellen was wonderfully gracious and mailed me my box of junk back to keep my bags under weight. I packed all my clothes into a small suitcase inside a larger one on the way there, and going back I had one large one empty to hold all my stuff. I could have fit it all, but was worried a bit about weight... So I opted to ship my package that I had shipped to the fort, back home...
I spent the afternoon talking with Danita in the airport. When we walked up to her gate, she was being called over the loudspeaker because it was final boarding call and they were preparing to leave without her. We snapped this quick photo together before she ran down the boarding ramp...
There are a lot of blogs with more info and postings about Artfest. Check out &rew's blog here he took some awesome photos of all the festivities, the town and may other cool things... Tina has some cool photos as well... Here is another bunch of pix from Heather . Sharon has some lovely photos of the fort buildings and the town on her blog, her photography is amazing. I love seeing all the photos... Things that I as a newby or "Festal Virgin" didn't know to look for... I am still on a high from the whole experience...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Artfest day 3

My last class was Opie and Linda O'Brien's Fe Fi Faux class. I have never done metal worked jewelry before. It was fun to try something new. I even spent my lunch hour in the class sanding and etching faux bone. I am happy with how it turned out. Opie and Linda are great teachers. They are funny how they break the different steps up and each teach their parts. They have different styles, but they make it fun and interesting... And their Brooklyn accents are so cute! I got a lot of trades in that class. Some very talented people at Artfest. Here are some photos of my trades... I don't remember everyone they came from. Some got mine and then brought me back some of their friends things to trade more... I have many trades left over. If you are interested in trading some of your leftover trades, or just trading something, post a comment here with your email address and I will email you my physical addy and such to trade by mail...

These are photos from Vendor nite... I didn't get pix of the whole room and all the booths. I loved seeing everyone's art... This is Michael deMeng's work. He was so nice, and funny! He was very gracious and let me photograph as much as I wanted. I love how he can take seemingly random bits of junk and turn it into a cool assemblage that tells a fantastic tale.
These pieces were done by Thomas Ashman. He taught a class on the big copper book called the Ultimate Art Journal. I saw some samples of it. REALLY incredible! My friend Jo took the smaller book class and her book turned out awesome! He is an interesting guy. The top picture is his interpretation of a catholic saint relec shrine. How when the catholics used to take pieces of the saint's bones and put them in holy shrines. In the top of the glass, there is a small round box that contains some bones. We talked about where to get intact skulls and animal bones, and how I had once met a guy that made mandalas using animal bones, and he got them all from roadkill. He even kept an ice chest and plastic garbage bags and a shovel in the back of his truck... OK, kinda gross, I know... But I know taxidermists would have things like this... and it is a green way to recycle the parts they don't use in taxidermy... So in a wierd way, it is recycling...
These are Tracy Moore's Art Journals. They are GORGEOUS and tactile and very intricate. Metal and wood and leather all combined in a way that is asthetically beautiful... You have to see them in person to really appreciate them.

We all went to dinner at the Galetea Tapas Bar next to "Festi" the statue where all the other festal virgins were meeting on Tuesday before registration. We missed it on account of Jo's arline losing her luggage, so we took our own Festal Virgin photo in front of the fountain. We were late getting to show and tell Saturday nite, but I was able to get a few photos of some cool artwork... before it was all gone.

The highlight of the nite was seeing this book. My photos do not do it justice. How we came to see this book was completely guided by spirit... Danita had taken Michael deMeng's class, and was telling me about this amazing book that his girlfriend had made. She had seen it in his class, and was blown away. I told her, "It is probably packed away already..." she says "Yeah, probably," and then turns to talk to someone on the other side. While she is speaking to the person on the other side, Michael asks the woman standing next to me (later I find out is Lynne Perrella, one of my art heros) if she has seen Judy's book. He says, "I will get her and show it to you, we'll grab a table in there." I tell Danita, "I just heard him saying he was going to show Judy's book to some people." so she asks if we can go too. "Sure. " he says, as he lugs in this big vintage suitcase...

She pulls out this book that is about 1 foot thick, and proceeds to tell us the story of how she made the book, where the elements for the pages came from, and how spirit guided the creation of the whole project. She said that she had wanted to work on something lighter, because her last works were on the Holocaust. Then it clicked, the lady I had read the article on, the one in Australia, who found a bag of Jewish memorabilia on the side of the road, was actually guided by spirit to pick it up... and created some touching and poignant works about the holocaust, and found the story of the man through the local synagogue. This story really touched me. For many reasons. That she was guided to find that bag. That it's contents resonated with her on such a deep personal level, that she was able to express the horrors and pain and the beautiful moments that happened to families destroyed by this horrible event. I remember crying reading that article. I love to do art that is meaningful. Spiritual art, or soul art I call it. Going deep inside the meaning of the elements to create a piece that is so beyond a pile of old photos and papers of a prison camp survivor. To create something that truly memorializes and commemorates the LIFE of the person who lived it...

It clicked in my head while standing there listening to her beautiful Australian accent. Seeing the pride on Michaels face as he watched the room, while she told her story. Seeing others in to room well up with tears, and having their own AHA moments as she explained her artistic vision and the synchronicity of how the book came together. I was MEANT to be here.. I had goosebumps... standing there, trying to see the book, hip to hip with Lynne Perella, engrossed in her story. This is why I came. This is my BIG GIFT... my big, defining, AHA moment. Being in that room, at that moment, with people who TOTALLY got what she was explaining. Feeling for the first time like I was where I was meant to be... I wanted to talk to her in more detail after things broke up, but my friends were tired, and we still needed to find Danita a ride to the airport the next morning, so I knew it was not meant to be for that time. I know there will come a time when she and I have a conversation. There will be a time when we meet and learn from one another. I don't know when or how, I just know that it will happen... To see this book in it's entirety, visit Judy's blog here and prepare yourself for a touching experience.

When I finish my projects from my 3 classes today, I will post photos of them as well... I know, my 3 loyal readers are asking to see my work... I gotta keep my fans happy! Speaking of my 3 loyal fans... I ran into some ladies at Artfest who said they read my blog. WOW!!! That was like the best news ever... If you do read my bog, and like what you see, please post a comment. I moderate all of them, so if you don't want the comment public, just let me know and I will keep it for my own information... It helps me to know that I am touching people with my art and work. I always try to post when I visit someone's blog... Even if it is a little, "I love your work." I am having many nice synchronistic things happening to me because of my blog. Meeting people who know me from it, meeting people who find me through the Creative Therapy website, or Sharon Soneff's website and book. I love the connections, I love the stories... In fact... I will post today about a giveaway in honor of my 50th post... So check back later tonight or tomorrow... I will be giving away a set of my trades from Artfest, Moo Cards, ATC's and Charms.. And another cool thing I have that is a secret!!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Artfest Day 2 highlights

These were from my second class The Shrine Divine with Michael John Peterson... He was an AWESOME teacher. Funny, and talked a mile a minute, but it wasall good, the pace was perfect, he had everything we needed to create our shrines. All we needed were scissors. I wish he had recommended bringing items to put in the shrines... but the construction of them took up the entire class time, I even skipped lunch to keep working. It was so fun. I will demo the things I learned in my classes for everyone here on my blog in the next few days...

These are pages from a lady's book I met in the Art Assylum... I forgot her name... (I feel terrible) I know she is the Ladybug Trailer gal from the Bay Area... If you see these, and don't want them posted, please let me know... If you give me a link to your blog, I will add it here. I think her work is FABULOUS... you have to see the depth and richness of the details on her pages. I love how she alters the magazine faces with book paper... TOO COOL... thanks for sharing your amazing work with us!

It was going to rain the next day, so we took off fast for some quick photos down at the beach... On the way we saw this amazingly funky fresh art car parked in front of the commons! How fun is this... Makes ya wanna go out and buy and old beater so you can start driving around in an Altered Art Car!!!

These ladies were walking through the parking lot with their Mandalas thay made. I can't remember whose class it was... Anahata's I think? If anyone knows, please post a comment so I can tell everyone.
This woman was a friend of Ellen's. She had these cool jeans on that she altered. She painted the dragon on wone side, and put the front panel pocket of a jean jacket on the other leg. How clever is this? Reminds me of Christian on Project Runway with the Levi's project. Speaking of which, Michelle, my Bay Area Artfest Friend told me the garments from the Project Runway were exhibited at Levi Plaza in San Francisco. She went and saw them and said they were teeny tiny clothes.... I bet... those models are little tiny things... I wish I had known... I am such a HUGE project Runway fan...

Shopping around Pt. Townsend. There are coffee places EVERYWHERE... These Washingtonians are FIENDS for the coffee... I drank a couple cups there myself, and anyone who knows me knows I am so NOT a coffee gal... I did bring my tea with me, and Teesha gave us these cool metal thermos' with the artfest logo on them that I filled up every morning....
These sunset pictures were taken at the Goodwill in the parking lot... Jo needed to go get some clothes cause her suitcase still hadn't arrived, so we went there first, and then went to dinner. After we were back at my room making coffe and getting ready to go to the Art Assylum, I realized I had left my coat with my camera and all these photos in the cart at the store. I called, and luckily they had found it, and waitied for me to come get it... so we piled in the car and booked it back there. I gave them both a hug and thanked them for finding it and keeping it safe... See... what cool, friendly people they have in Washington!

Well, that is the highlights of the second day... There is much more to add, but I am limited on time these days. I am slammed getting everything ready for my youth at risk art program. I need my proposal, biz plan and executive summary done like last week... So I am off to complete it. Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages and packages with donations for the program. I love all you bloggers out there. I can't wait to fill you all in with an update on the program... let me get through the Artfest stuff here, and then I will have some great news to pass on about the program! Love and hugs to all of you!