Thursday, December 29, 2011

Getting Ready for a New Start

The holiday season can be emotionally draining. I have a Christmas loving friend who suffers from “post-partum” every year once Christmas has passed. I enjoy the holidays but I often begrudge the time and work required—time that could be spent pursuing other interests (like making art!). That being said, the Virgo in me really loves the end of the year opportunity to clean out the old to make way for the new.

My children are making something delicious and creative-- marshmallow treats using leftover cereals taking up cupboard space. Unsuccessful new cereals like High Fiber Low Sugar Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies Treats are good for this.

I like to toss old bill files into my attic archives under the eaves at the end of each year. In 2012 I’m going in to shred anything that’s older than 7 years, which is what the experts recommend. Yeehaw, I love clearing out!

Now I’m off to purge old documents and organize my computer for 2012. Wishing all my lovely blog friends a blissful, bountiful and beautiful 2012!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Work and New Focusing Trick

Here's how I'm spending this chilly Saturday morning of puttering in my studio :
-listening to my Basic Italian CD to learn a new language
-thinking I have to burn the other Italian CDs to my ipod
-looking for a 90's bracelet from France that I just saw somewhere that I have an idea for altering
-noting a new idea of making some stars out of my new favorite material, cardboard
-looking for some interesting backdrops so I can start taking etsy photos of my newest creations
-checking etsy for keywords and tips so my listings can get seen, I'm still struggling with this since they changed the relevancy parameters back in September.

A larger version, available soon.

Some of you might already know about my quest for focus when in my workspace. There are just too many exciting things going on, all those found objects, materials, inchoate ideas... Today, as the ideas, or actually "impulses", started flowing, I got what turned out to be an insight--write down all the things I was trying to do at once. The act of putting it down on paper had the same effect as making a to-do list (which I do religiously, my favorite part being shredding it when I've done everything or transferred the undone things to a new list)--it put what seemed utterly chaotic into a manageable perspective. It really isn't that unsurmountable in the short morning. Sitting down and planning what you're trying to accomplish must trigger calming brain waves.

Three less Christmas-y looking options for making your gift card stand out under the tree. 
Good for repurposing later!

But I'm still looking for the bracelet...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Unsuccessful Junked Mission

The junk gods were not on our side today. It's never a good sign when things are laid out nicely, like the cool tumblr blog things organized neatly
 Well, maybe not quite as visually appealing, but it always means that the prices will be higher. In this case, ridiculously high for a "Podunk" sale, and men were just snapping everything up. If only more things had been as random and as reasonable as the potty chair above--only $10!

Stuff wasn't even that old, and there was no light (I always mean to take a flashlight to these things). Here you see cans of paint that were probably the same price as at the hardware store.

We had gone there to buy a lathe for Mr CWhirl. The friend who let him know about the sale found out the lathe was last seen in this shed--about a 3 minute walk across a chilly and windy field.
Here, at last, was Shangri-La--a large building with old wooden crates, bottles, debris. The perfect place to find things! The wire basket in the doorway contains 4 old hub caps and a couple other pieces of sculptural nirvana that I ecstatically scrounged in the five minutes the guys searched for lathe parts. But no, this virgin territory was not part of the sale--they plan to have another in several months and I'm sure that there, we'll find--THINGS ARRANGED NEATLY. The kiss of death to the treasure hunter.

Oh, and guess what--the lathe was stolen, so we didn't get that either!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

100th Post!

 For my one hundredth post, I have some good news concerning my Etsy shop. I recently started it up again after changing the name from a silly mistake we won't mention here to "Collage Whirl", the name it would have had if collage whirl had existed back in early 2008, when I first opened an Etsy account.

Too bad I didn't put anything in the shop until July 2010... even then I never did much with it, so now I'm giving it another whirl--haha, get it? And I just got a new banner, created by my talented son. I may be cutting it a little close for Cyber Monday sales, but I'm over the moon to have a new look for the shop. Makes me feel organized, you know?

I've been making pillows--for some reason that's what the inner creative goddess has been dictating-- go visit to see some cozy little embroidered and vintage snippet appliqued goodies! (no pictures here on purpose)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Random Views of a November Afternoon

The leaves finally started to turn about a week ago.
Here's the view from my studio.
Inside my studio... the slogan was born when I was asked to dumb down my artist statement for a local co-op gallery. I took her advice very badly.
One of my plants has been losing a lot of leaves since I brought it in for the winter. I made this out of homesickness for all things tropical. Look at all the colors...
 Another glimpse of the late September bounty from France.

Just to remind you (and myself) that brighter days await!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegetable Envy

Since it's a cold, blustery fall day, a hearty spinach, feta and potato gratin sounds really good to me. One of the ingredients is shallots.

Here's what you get in Virginia for $2.99--three rather small shallots, which will probably be enough for one, maybe two dishes.

In France, one of these red bags filled with shallots--the yellow one is onions--is 10 Euros, about $14! That works out to 50 Eurocents a kilo although apparently in stores they're more like 5 Euros a kilo. My sisters-in-law have an amazing food network (and it's real, not a TV show). They each find the best deal on wonderful local produce, buying extra for friends and family in other regions. Then they trade!
It's all about the food. That's why I'm so comfortable in Europe.

Here's a sample of the goodies in my other sister-in-law's garage--all these artichokes were only 1 Euro at the co-op, because they weren't perfect! Here they would be considered just fine, to the tune of $2.89.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More Rome

First four images are of the Pantheon and the last pic is in the Ghetto.

Ideas from what I saw in Rome are starting to percolate down. It has taken me a few weeks to get out of sponge mode (brain wiped clean of any thought or inspiration and simply absorbing) and back into a frame of mind where it even seemed possible to try to make something informed by the huge repository of human genius and history that is literally everywhere there.

Culture Clash, 4" x 3", found objects, wire and clay 
© Deborah Jaouen

I'm planning some other sculptures dealing with the meeting/confrontation of old and new, expanding on an idea I've been working with for the past couple of years.

Thanks to the newest followers of this blog and to everyone else for reading--I  really appreciate hearing from you. Your comments are wonderful!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back from Rome and Brittany

Roman kitties relaxing in the shade of Largo di Torre Argentina, the square where Julius Caesar is thought to have been assassinated.
 Really good pizza bianca (no tomatoes) here, which everyone eats standing around outside the shop. The cakes and cookies looked divine. So much wonderful food, so little time! Vegetable filled treats are available everywhere in Rome, unlike in France where if you're lucky you'll find a "simple" cheese sandwich without the ham. It's still delicious though.

 Two of the three fountains in the Piazza Navona. Bernini strikes again!

 The Pantheon was amazing, and Raphael's tomb is here. I learned so much...

 The Ghetto neighborhood has a lot of artsy little shops.

And lots of cool fragments lying negligently around.

This was part of our first day in Rome--I'm planning to post much more about this wonderful trip, and get back to posting regularly (it has been a month since last time). 
Thanks to everyone who is still reading my blog!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory

Photo taken in September 2010 at Ladder Co. 10 and Engine Co. 10,  Liberty Street firehouse, across the street from Ground Zero (please click on the link to read about this firehouse).


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ahimsa Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

During my evening run tonight, a mosquito (at least I hope it was that small) flew down my throat--that reminded me of seeing an image similar to this in a yoga book.

Indian Jain nuns, New Delhi  wearing traditional face masks to prevent the killing of any life - even the accidental inhalation of an insect.  via poculum

Ahimsa means kindness and non-violence towards all living things including non-human animals; it respects living beings as a unity, the belief that all living things are connected. Indian leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi strongly believed in this principle. Avoidance of verbal and physical violence is also a part of this principle, although ahimsa recognizes self-defense when necessary, as a sign of a strong spirit. It is closely connected with the notion that all kinds of violence entail negative karmic consequences.-sorry for the little wikipedia blurb-- I do believe in doing as little harm as possible to anything living and will go out of my way to avoid an insect, especially one in my face!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Projects

My output is slow, as in turtle pace slow. But I think I'm getting better at listening to my voice by not planning what to make--for now making things with fabric is just for fun, just a way to see what comes into existence.

I felt like embroidering with no underlying drawing or idea--interesting!

Another pillow that I made from vintage handkerchiefs back in the 2000's. 
I'm busily embellishing them now.

Made from repurposed sweatshirts, t-shirts, bag handles and found life jacket, 
with a little hand dyed batik on the left.

Embroidered detail. No preconceived notions were involved in the making of this piece!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gallery Hopping Does Pay

Have you ever been contacted by a vanity gallery? I got an email from Agora Gallery today through my website asking if they could send me "some information about our gallery and about an upcoming exhibition that you might be interested in".

Since I had visited that very gallery in Chelsea a year or so back, I knew immediately which one it was. I hadn't liked it because it was so reminiscent of  many not so tasteful galleries in backwater areas I have observed. Sort of like the art "malls" of Asheville (though I'm not saying Asheville's a backwater--au contraire).

The website looks nothing like the gallery when I was there so I imagine they've decluttered since. Apparently the deal is, artists pay from $3-10K annually to be represented. No thanks.

But what's a little sad is I didn't even get that instant of elation-- when I thought I had been "discovered" by a NYC gallery--before coming back down to earth. Guess that's what happens when you're a blasé and analytical middle aged emerging artist!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Buried Treasure from the Country

Here's my Buried Treasure post--playing along with the Altered Page's wonderful
idea of inviting people to repost a favorite post.  Thanks, Seth!

Back in early spring

when these were flowering, 

we went here.

 It was an old country store estate sale. Can you imagine a more beautiful combination of words?

They had old books, some in bad enough condition to make them perfect for collage.

They've found their way into the studio, instead of to our already overflowing library.

There were letters and stencils galore. Did I mention that part of the sale was in someone's wonderful and very vintage garage/workshop?

I got some strange looks from men as I elbowed them (just kidding) out of the way, competing for prizes. I'm lucky to be the only woman in these parts collecting gnarly stuff.

Once we got our loot home, I had to compete with my husband to see who gets to make stuff with what. We couldn't figure out why this bucket was so heavy, until we took out the pulleys on top to find the bottom full with 8 inches of lead weights!

 And I made some assemblages using some things from that day. The ring with rusted wire was apparently part of a crab pot.

The Caprice key ring came from another hunting and gathering expedition.
What have you found lately?