Decayed Daguerreotypes and The Public Domain Review

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Portrait of Emma Gillingham Bostwick [between 1851 and 1860], by Mathew Brady’s studio

Part of having some leisure time over the holidays is discovering new Good Stuff, which, of course, I’m passing along to you guys. Look at that wonderful portrait, above – it’s an old daguerreotype that has been naturally distressed over time by scratches, dust, hair, etc, and particularly the rubbing of its glass cover. Isn’t it beautiful?? Artists strive to achieve those distressed effects in wax and paint – age and natural process has done it for us here.

It’s part of a collection from a site called The Public Domain Review: a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation. You can read more about these daguerreotypes and see many more fantastic examples here.

Reading the Public Domain Review’s mission statement makes me smile:

images“In particular, as our name suggests, the focus is on works which have now fallen into the public domain, that vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restriction. Our aim is to promote and celebrate the public domain in all its abundance and variety, and help our readers explore its rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.”

 

The Public Domain Review has unbelievable treasures, and my personal favorites are in the images collections. Here are a few of the non-copyright images I came across in my first visit – it won’t be my last. I hope you have fun with this great resource. I plan to donate to their site (just as soon as I climb out of this rabbit-hole of digital discovery)!

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Guest artsts show their faces

One of the most enjoyable aspects of offering workshops, particularly on how to make face shards, is to see how they are used by the artists who attend. I’ve already posted photos of Spirit Dolls and jewelry – now here are some new ideas.

These are by Sheri Lenora from Austin, who took a class at the Studio recently on building earthenware faces – she’s used them in her beautiful mixed-media hangings – spectacular rich color and texture:

The nebookxt example (left) is the cover of a small book created by Zinnia Galliher, founder of Roses On My Table and a student in my online Making Faces class! I have a already warned her that I’m stealing her idea – it’s wonderful, and the air-dry clay is easier and lighter to work with than earthenware would be for adding to artisan paper constructions.

Don’t forget that there’s a workshop this Sunday at the Studio on making faces with air-dry clay with all kinds of beautiful finishes. Here’s the info, and here’s where to sign up.

 

 

 

 

 

Workshop video – we learned so much

It’s astonishing how much happened in two short days. Here’s the complete video of our weekend workshop at the Studio. Michelle Belto’s spiritual and physical energy took us on an unforgettable journey of artistic discovery!

 

Discovery: The Blue Stuff

I am passing on to you a tip about something which, until this morning, I had never tried and is pretty amazing – it’s blue (and white) stuff. I ordered it from a place called Cool Tools, which specializes in supplies for metal clay artists. This is a mold-making compound – technically it’s called Mega-Mold Silicone RTV Molding Compound and it uses a process called RTV, which means room temperature vulcanizing. Vulcanizing is a chemical process that converts polymer into durable material. Who knew??

So, you squish the blue part with the white part and push it against something you want to make a mold of. I swear, five minutes later it’s ready to go! Jan Longfellow told me that she has used it to make molds for her silver clay jewelry. it’s pretty amazing – here are some photos – I don’t know quite where I’m going with it, but it is sooooo much fun to play with! You could make a mold of your big toe, or your car key or a favorite brooch – the possibilities are positively goofy!

The Kit - one blue, one white - squish together equal amounts

The Kit – one blue, one white – squish together equal amounts

 

The mold after five minutes, the original object, and the clay copy

The mold after five minutes, the original object, and the clay copy

The mold setting up on a sculpture's hand

The mold setting up on a sculpture’s hand

Taking off the mold

Taking off the mold

A molded wing off the same sculpture

A molded wing off the same sculpture

More molded clay objects - the mold makes the clay oily - weird

More molded clay objects – the mold makes the clay oily – weird

 

 

 

 

Further thoughts . . .

In Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way day book yesterday was this quote, which somewhat describes that feeling of the force behind the creative calling –  apart from making something “to sell”:

jcquoteI wonder who the “they” is, though – people who look at art and get a message? Buyers? Do “they” have to come to make art worthwhile, or can you just express yourself FOR yourself. Personally, I love it when other people find a resonance for themselves in my work, but if I were alone on the proverbial desert island, I’d still be arranging palm fronds and shells into nifty designs and drawing lines in the sand just for my own enrichment and artistic fulfillment. You probably would, too!

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The Solomons: wisdom and art

Last October I had the good fortune to meet artist/sculptor Pablo Solomon and his designer/creative director wife Beverly at an art opening at Marta Stafford’s gallery in Marble Falls. Pablo’s sculptures were captivating – very organic and fluid in stone and clay. We started talking and decided we needed to stay in touch. And we did! This weekend Beverly and Pablo came to San Antonio and we spent two days with them exploring galleries, talking, eating, laughing and discovering lots in common. They are amazing people who took the leap of faith to leave the city and make their home on 1856 historic ranch for sale in the Texas Hill Country north of Austin. You can read about it in an article about Beverly (and Pablo) here. If you visit their websites, you’ll be as amazed as I was with scope and depth of their talents. And they are both passionate conservationists and ecological crusaders.

I’m especially grateful to both of them for the good advice they gave me about my Studio space. I hope to have them back soon for an evening lecture about some of the things we discussed over the two days of our visit. Here we are at the Botanical Garden‘s Art in the Garden yesterday evening – a perfect venue for a sculptor!

solomonAnd here’s Pablo with Miro (thanks in advance, Beverly, for letting me swipe this great photo from the website) – some of the best stories we heard were about Miro the Amazing Cat with three legs – hooray for Miro, Pablo and Beverly!

 

 

 

Friday Freebie – little spring cards

I saw the most amazing redbud tree yesterday on my way to Trinity, and all of the ornamental pears are loaded with white blossoms – spring is definitely coming out all over. Here are some little cards to tie on baskets or bouquets. You can print them out, cut and fold them, and attach them to Something Nice for Someone.

springcards2springpic

 

 

 

Sunday Wrap-up

Today’s Mala and Spirit Flag Workshop felt like playing – wonder if there’s such a thing as a Playshop? It was like summer outside where we splattered our prayer flags with paint. We didn’t get much more done with the flags because sitting around the table stringing mala beads and talking was a lot more relaxing. One of the things we discussed was creating with intention, which seems to elevate and enrich any project.

Congratulations to Barbara Weitbrecht, the winner of the Mala meditation bracelet. Barbara, email me and let me know if there’s a favorite color you’d like me to use for the tassel. I’m still far from perfect at making these little wrist Malas, but it will be made with much love.

Here’s a video from today’s workshop – you can see what the parking lot around the Studio looks like! It was deserted on a Sunday afternoon so no one ran over our prayer flags. Yay!

Sunday Pass-along: A Manifesto

pod1I am sitting here at my desk trying to remember what the heck my Evernote password is (and what I was even going to look for in Evernote) when I came across this link I’d saved to a Blog called Inspired Home Office by Jen Hofmann.

This is her most popular post – read it and you’ll see why. Here’s the link:
A Manifesto for Cluttered Creatives – and here’s my favorite excerpt (the whole thing is great):

 

I have a right to a sacred space
that is free from intrusions

that is free from guilt
that completely supports my spirit
that is truly sacred space
powerful as an ancient circle of standing stones

Right on!

Ye olden days

Way back in the late 50’s, my dad (everyone called him “The Colonel”) was stationed in London. We lived there five years before I came to San Antonio in 1959 – culture shock when I saw my first glob of guacamole :(!

Anyway, at the last Open Studio, my friend Marilyn told me she had been to the same school in London about the same time (amazing synchronicity) and put me in touch with the alumni page. I found my picture in the London Central High School annual – here it is – check out those white collars that were guaranteed to make you look geeky. And FYI, if you find your own old photos, here’s a great link to repairing and restoring them – if you actually want to!
http://www.easyelements.com/old-photo-repair.html
bushey