the categorical days: Arts

November 03, 2003

Arts and crafts day

I'm sticky.

A while back, I took everything off the wall around my desk in order to try my hand at decoupage.

de·cou·page Variant(s): or dé·cou·page /"dA-(")kü-'päzh/ Function: noun Etymology: French découpage, literally, act of cutting out, from Middle French, from decouper to cut out, from de- + couper to cut Date: 1946 1 : the art of decorating surfaces by applying cutouts (as of paper) and then coating with usually several layers of finish (as lacquer or varnish)

So I gathered some scissors, a canvas, paintbrush and some Mod Podge (pretty much it's an Elmers Glue variant).

I've learned some things. First of all, a hard surface would have been very prudent. Duh. Air bubbles are killing me. But with my wabi-sabi attitude, I'm letting those imperfections go and chalking up the experience. Tomorrow, I'll add the antique varnish and see if that helps disguise the flaws.

View the project

Next week: Macramé!

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October 20, 2003

Wabi Sabi


Picked up some fruit and veggies at the market yesterday. Soup's brewin on the stove again, filling up the house with nice aroma.

I got some apples. They were a little bruised and pocked, and as I was about to put some back, I remembered the tenets of wabi sabi.*

I placed three in the basket to cleanse my mind of being overly picky.

Later that evening, after a brief visit to the bar, I nursed a Budweiser and the notion that said Japanese aesthetic should be more apparent in social situations.

Then I went home and masturbated.** That wabi sabi stuff only gets one so far.

* Wabi Sabi is a way of life that appreciates natural beauty, values simplicity, and nurtures an authentic self. It acknowledges that nothing lasts, nothing’s finished, nothing’s perfect, including you, but affirms that contentment is possible when you accept genuine unvarnished existence, with clarity and grace.

Referenced from Richard's Wabi Sabi World

** jerk off, jack off, wank, wank off, beat off, whack off, beat the meat, stroke the salami, choke the chicken, grease the axle, wax the dolphin, choke the bishop, wax the rod, peel the banana, butter the lobster, change gears, walk the dog, polish the knob, onanism, spank the monkey, chase the weasel, whistle dixie, dick off, rub one out, whip the birdie, self-service, squeeze one off, sling jelly, bop the baloney, jack the beanstalk, dunk your dolphin, grease the sprocket, flog the log, punch the clown, squirt around, polish the low-quarters (military), captain jack (personified), played the organ, squeeze the lotion dispenser, bleed the serpent, pull the peter, plug the mellon, polish the purple helmet, tickling the turkey, polish the wand, flog the dolphin

Referenced from Sexual Synonyms

Oh yeah, and tonight I felt artistic again and drew one of them apples.

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October 19, 2003


Earl Gray Grey + Sharpie + The business section of the paper

I left my camera charging at work on Friday. As painful as it is to walk around the wonderful fall weekend, I just didn't have the gumption to go back into the office.

I got up this morning and lamented the teapot I threw away because I couldn't get it "clean."

I boiled water on the stove in a pan and fixed some tea. I bought this great locally harvested honey at the market last week and put a dollop in the mug. Along with some tasty homemade boysenberry jam on toast, I sat on the back porch and read the paper.

I felt like doodling, and the only thing handy was a Sharpie (and a scanner).

I remember back in school, we each had these ArtBins filled with lots of goodies - essentially a tackle box with a rainbow ArtBin logo.

Kneaded erasers, Prismacolor pencils, protractors, metal rulers, Rapidograph pens + ink, a nice metal barrel pencil sharpener, markers and x-actos. And some tape I'm sure.

As much as I'd like to have all that handy, the biggest stumbling block is figuring out WHAT to draw. If I took it easy on myself, like I do with snapping photos, maybe I could muster up something beyond a doodle.

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October 11, 2003

The factory out in the woods

Perhaps one of my favorite paintings

A roadtrip some 40 miles into Kentucky began the day. A carload of us went south to tour the digs of a mutual professional friend. A Loft/Studio/Warehouse/Farm nested on 300 acres I do believe.

A plain looking aluminum structure from the outside, it opens to reveal a two story space divided between studio and personal areas. A mix of industrial antiques and modern touches.

A haven for design and art. Sensibility oozing in the details. Vaulted ceilings, concrete floors, a catwalk, really really really tall doors. The things so carefully laid out. The ancient calculator on the classic metal desk. The lightable set in the thick wooden slab. The mixture of analog papers and devices overpowering the flat screened computers.

I dug it.

Best of all though, the visionary behind this place, who had been planning it for years, hung one of his mother's paintings in his office. I'd seen it before, but every time I just get a kick out of it.

It's this blend of old and new, like the space he has created. And like the studio, executed with a keen sense of what to leave out.

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September 13, 2003

Our first t-shirt

The onesie.

With screens successfully "burned," we set aside Friday as the time to try the press out. After many cautious prints on test felt, adjustments of screws, poor alignment issues and some bleed issues - we decided to just put down some of the slave labor white tees and give it a whirl.

Tom had the wrist action, so I delegated myself to proper alignment of shirts on the press and "flashing" under the heating element.

Groove found, the production machine that was us became a blur of brown and rebel flesh (tan) ink.

Even had spare time to make pint-sized versions.

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September 10, 2003


Our first successful production screen

Clamoring in Tom's basement over the past few weeks, we've been doing test burns for screen printing.

There's been math involved.

We got the hang of it enough to try our hand at actually getting a design together and trying it out for a production run.

Having a deadline of this Sunday helps push things along. So does Tom's keen design sense.

2 color front 1 color back. All three screens are successfully burned.

Friday, we put em on the press and slather ink on 'em. Fingers crossed.

The 'Femmes are in my head, "Good Feeling, Stay with me, just a little longer."

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August 04, 2003

Hanging with Art

Julie Moos
Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Pleasant, 2001
Collection Johnson County Community College

I believe Mrs. Pleasant is pictured above in this photo of a photo.

I met up with Art for lunch today and we toured the campus and looked at all the installations and whatnot. Organized by paper, sculpture and photography - the school has quite an impressive collection.

Even got to see one of his photographs displayed.

Always nice to see where someone works and the environment. Briefly got to see his boss and missed out on meeting his cohort - she is currently on a roadtrip up and down San Diego.

The cafeteria had lots of options for lunch, I chose Chick-fil-a. Yum.

Gotta dig a place that isn't open on Sundays.

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July 25, 2003

SF Day 3

An Academy of Art student draws a sculpture

A leisurely day.

Started off touring the inside of Our Lady of The Maytag church, then headed down to Lands End in the park to have the Golden Gate completely obscured by fog. Good hike though.

Headed over to the Legion of Honor Museum. A bunch of Academy of Art college students were plopped around the place drawing paintings and sculptures.

I remember doing similar exercises way back when. Funny how tracing and imitating helps define skills we can interpret for ourselves.

Met up with Brian for dinner and also met J.

Salad : good.
Pizza : acceptable.
Conversation : excellent.

A handsome, relaxing evening.

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July 18, 2003

Wham, BAM, farewell Seattle

The steps at the Bellevue Art Museum (BAM)
(Likely the most interesting thing at the place...)

It was a quick farewell as the Marmot was off to work already and Christopher was heading that way. I tried to make sure I left nothing out of place and made the guest room as tidy as I could and left the Bear Marmot Chalet.

Art and I headed to the Bellevue Art Museum and check out the architecture and what was inside.

The architecture was more interesting. (Not the best space for exhibits, as reported by the building manager)

We then chugged through Portland traffic and wound up in Corvallis, Oregon in time for dinner with Paul and Lars. Yummy vegetarian cuisine after the orders were put right. Got a free Fat Tire for the mixup.

From there, we went back and took a small hike in the woods, kicked back in the Yurt, listened to music and chatted it up. At some point we ended up outside, looking up at the sky.

We laid on the ground, still warm from the sunny day, and began noting the stars and satellites. I've never really watched satellites as they zip by - If i did, I likely thought they were shooting stars.

It was pretty dang nifty.

Oh yeh, now I know what a Yurt is.

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July 13, 2003

Tea Words, Zen Words and Calligraphy

Strokin it.

So there we were, in a workshop that explores tea as a spiritual path. Really nifty house, all simple and stuff with a manicured lawn and the biggest magnolia tree I've ever seen. We sat on tatami mats facing each other around the perimeter of the room. My ankles cried and I sat Indian style.

Wood blocks were clapped, incense was lit and then a little metal bowl was tapped. Everyone seemed to be thinking really hard about something. Their eyes were closed. I noticed this as I had no clue what I was doing, and being the curious sort, I just looked around. Somewhere along the line, I figured yoga would be a good idea, so I straighted my back and breathed around my spine. Mental chant, "Please don't fart, please don't fart."

The meditation ended and the discussion about Bokuseki (ink traces) began. It was an odd group. I couldn't figure out who was a student or teacher, and as guests of my host's friends, trying to figure it out was unlikely.

The room seemed divided like a lunch table in elementary school... Instead of separating the boys and girls, it was the people without beards on one side.

We pontificated "Everyday is a good day" (translation: It's all good) and "Have a cup of tea" (translation: Chill out, dude)

Then it was time for calligraphy. We looked at samples and then were given a piece of paper and brush to play with. Then we had to describe our experiment. Next: write a wish down on a piece of paper and tie it to the bamboo tree outside.

My only wish at the time was, I hope the host doesn't mind that I spilled ink on the tatami mat.

Dinner afterwards was tasty and meat free.

The above image is a collage of Christopher and Dan's handiwork.
All of my stuff was destroyed by the sensei.

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June 03, 2003

Look ma! I made a ... mess!

It's supposed to be like that. It's art.

Screen printing is hard. First, we had to find a way to get the image printed out. The laser printer's ethernet card died from an electrical surge (as did everyone else's in the building) so that was a no go. The inkjet didn't print kindly on vellum, so we went with a vellum sample sheet to try it out.

So many variables... The photo emulsion is very sensitive. We need to adjust the timing and the light source height, since much of what should have washed away didn't, and vice versa. Then we realized that sunlight during the wash process was being very destructive. In a mad effort to block all sunlight from the office, we realized, this was not the best controlled environment. Nor was the lack of hot water.

With all this ahead of us, we were hellbent on making SOMETHING, so we decided to run with it and try out the inking process.

Lotta variables there too. The consistency of the ink and the resolution of the screen need to be in harmony.

Ours were not.

So what did we learn? Well, we need to prep a good darkroom and get a good basin for the first step. We need to read up on screens and ink consistency. And we need to get an ethernet card for that dang laser printer. Then we're good to go after countless more attempts.

We ruined 2 shirts in commemoration, 1 apron, and one set of "Nasty" underwear was created.

The latter, not my idea.

Overall a good experiment and foray. Next time, we shall have beer and we're sure that will help.

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June 01, 2003

It is complete

The screenprinting machine

After recollecting ourselves from the bad assembly day, Tom and I jumped in and got the thing put together in no time.

Midway through the process, the fire alarms went off, and man, there is no way in heck you can sleep through em. Loud! Painfully loud.

We hiked down the steps to the curb and waited there as the two big firetrucks came to check on the scene.

It was Sunday, there was no one around. We sure looked guilty.

Once the firemen figured out that the construction up the street was the likely culprit, they told us with a grin, "Stop breaking things." and we went back to figure out what was next.

We took a moment of pause, then wandered the studio, trying to find a suitable "dark" area to prep some screens. After failing miserably, I finally remembered that the shared closet on the floor would be perfect. It has outlets, it's empty and no light gets into it.

One screen prepped and stored, ready for the first test design.


All Together now

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June 01, 2003

Contemporary Art


Contemporary Arts CenterI spent most of the day working with Tom to assemble the silk-screen machine, only to find out, near the end, we had installed some stuff upside down, and failed to put a bushing at the bottom to make it spin proper.

Once we realized this, it was time to throw in the towel.

We decided to pick up where we left off tomorrow and prepare for the evenings festivities.

The Contemporary Arts Center was hosting a grand opening gala for the new building.

Super crowded, lots of energy, and a perfectly curated opening. Art felt more relevant than it had in some time for me, and sharing that realization within the community made it all the more powerful. (Though I look forward going back when there's more air.)

UPDATE: Photos from the evening now online.

Filed under: Arts, Cincinnati, Photography | | Comments (0)

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