Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reed & Stone



Last week I decided to make my friend Margot a belated birthday gift.  She is very crafty herself and I wanted to make her something handmade so I thought I would have a go at wrapping rocks with basket material.  I have literally been collecting rocks for years and have jars and jars full of them.  Plus I used to be a basket maker and have a plethora of unused reed that has not seen the light of day since we moved here twelve years ago.

I have had this idea in my head since I saw the work of Del Webber on Artisaway.com (if you haven't visited Elsa Mora's website you must go!).  Del's craftsmanship is amazing and I would love to learn how to do some of the more complicated wrapping techniques.


As you can see below I ended up making three so far, but hopefully this is only the beginning.  I would like to experiment with working in metal pieces or buttons.


I also loved photographing these.  Everything came together perfectly.  I have owned (and never used) these place mats for years and my mom had just given us a flower arrangement for our anniversary that included chrysanthemums.  It is so much fun to arrange all the elements and to see how they interact and come together to create something totally new.  Also, the light on the back porch was lovely and although you can't hear it through the photos, cicadas were singing in the background.  The photo below is one of my favorites...maybe because it reminds me of a piece of sushi.


As I was weaving around the rock below it reminded me of making God's eyes when I was young.  I can still picture my awkward and wonky creation hanging on the family room wall.  I think it hung there for decades.



I usually like to end with a quote but I couldn't find anything that perfectly suited this post so I wrote a short poem.


Around smooth stones
I spin cocoons
The stone and I transform



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oyster Mushrooms



Last weekend when I went to the farmer's market I fell in love...with a mushroom.  We were standing in line at the mushroom stand and as we were waiting for the person in front of us to finish their purchase I spied it from afar.  Some times when I see something I really like I have to look away.  I think, "No, I couldn't have seen what I just thought I saw."  And then I peak back to look again.  "Oh my gosh!  I think it really is something that is so exquisitely beautiful it gives me butterflies in my stomach!"  And that is what happened last weekend. 

As I scanned all the mushrooms lying on the table before us there was one that was so stunning I couldn't believe our luck!  I started to feel nervous about the person in front of us..."What if they buy MY mushroom?  How could they not notice the treasure that lay right before their eyes?  "What if they decide to buy it at the last second?"  I let out a sigh of relief when they finally walked away and we approached the table.  When George asked me which one I wanted I pretended to non-nonchalantly point out the most incredible mushrooms on the table.  The mushroom vendor put it in a bag for us.


When I got home I was busy with other things and it was several hours later before I had time to find the camera.  When I found the brown bag I thought, "Oh, it probably wasn't as awesome as I had imagined it to be."  But when I pulled it out of the bag I was not disappointed. 


At first I thought it was one giant mushroom, but it was actually two mushrooms back to back.  As I took them apart I marveled at the lovely forms.  As I looked at the brown mushroom I couldn't help but think this mushroom was a masterpiece of asymmetrical balance.  When you looked at it straight down it formed a round mass composed of perfectly spaced stalks that appeared to emerge from the one below.  And each stalk was formed of thin vertical "gill" lines punctuated by a thick brown horizontal "cap" line.  The play between the vertical and horizontal repetition and scale blew me away.  And the effect of so many stalks reaching skyward gave the effect of joyful, repetitious exuberance.


As I flitted about the porch moving things around to get the right light and fretting about aperture and shutter speed, my neighbor John and husband George were forced to listen to me "ooh" and "aah" over our fungi bounty.  But I think they too saw what amazing objects these mushrooms were.  And I even coaxed John into being my hand model.








Shortly after the photo shoot George took the mushrooms in to make dinner.  He made a lovely oyster mushroom pasta meal that was super delicious.  Oh, and I forgot to say that we signed up to be part of a mushroom CSA.  So every week for the rest of the summer we will be getting mushrooms!  If you are interested in signing up you can visit the Probasco Farms facebook page and contact the owner, Alan Susarret.  There is an article about his business here.

I hope you can forgive me for including too many photos in the post but I couldn't help myself.  What's a girl in love supposed to do?


Monday, July 6, 2015

Cincinnati City Hall Sketch



I had a great time on the fourth of July sketching with my dad.  I have been pestering him for a while now to go with me and we finally made it happen last weekend.  We wanted to go to Findlay market so I picked Cincinnati's City Hall because it was close.  After we sat down and started sketching we both realized that this was no easy building to sketch.  Whoever the architect was, they must have been mad or brilliant or both!  There are unusual jut-outs and the number of windows groupings changes all over the place.  If you have never seen this building in person it is well worth a trip downtown.


When we got back to the house we put on some nice music and inked and colored our sketches on the back porch.  I think my dad enjoyed it and I thought his sketch turned out awesome!  I love his bold colors and lines.  Hopefully this will be the first of many sketching outings with Poppy.



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Krohn Conservatory Sketchbook



I am excited to announce the Krohn Conservatory will be selling mini-sketchbooks with a sketch I did on the cover.  The sketchbook folds to a 5 1/4'' square and will be sold in their gift shop.  This sketch is one I did with Christina Wald and Amy Bogard about a year ago.  You can see the whole sketch here.  Sketching is a great way to enjoy the Krohn.  I think it helps one to slow down and really see the plants and animals.  So if you visit bring your pencil and paper or buy a sketchbook!