Saturday, February 19, 2011

found orange paper: make beads

orange tulips with flying goddess back ground 
golden earrings pierce both my ears

this weeks fresh tulips ORANGE! the Valentines day shortage of exotic colors ended
rolled black and orange/red paper triangles with a touch of glue creates a paper bead
Last night I went to Pyramid Atlantic Studios for a free members only workshop in paper bead making taught by one of this winter's interns, Melissa. The class was about 6 female members, another intern, Ann and me the only "guy" attending. In a little over two hours we all had an assortment of rolled paper beads ready to string up into dangle earrings or take home to make other jewelry. I received lots of apologies from Melissa because she said she was not thinking about something for a guy to make and use.  I was happy to have a set of earrings that I gifted to a friendly poetess down the road. But as I illustrated today I also have holes in my ears for earrings. Although they have not been used in many years they are still there.

Naturally when I saw a sheet of orange paper laying in the pile of studio samples I claimed a couple sheets to use for my beads... and I took along some old black Arches print paper from the scrap bin which was thick and fuzzy to roll. Others used various hand made papers from the stock Melissa prepared for the workshop. I was impressed with her very well organized preparations and all the attention to each individual in her class. Thanks Melissa! I had a great time and I came home educated and energized by the workshop and good company. These winter months being sick with a string of doctors and specialists to visit has been a kind of drag on my creative soul. Photographing beads first thing this morning wasn't very easy but I wanted to show you the results.

In 2006 I saw a installation exhibition by Asian artist Simryn Gill at the Arthur M. Sackler gallery. (Washington Post review) The only part I remembered all these years were enormous strings of tiny paper beads, she calls them pearls... hand rolled using the pages of books. She did not intent to show these private necklace books because they were works made for her personal friends. I guess the curator insisted they be included in the exhibition and borrowed the strings of pearls back to exhibit here in Washington DC. They told us Simryn Gill asked her best friends to chose their favorite books and she cut and rolled them into pearls making long strands until the entire book was a huge necklace then gave them back to these friends. What a treasure she created from their favorite real paper books. Those book bead strings caught my imagination on fire and that is why I decided to go try this Pyramid Atlantic workshop.  Today I found this blog post about Simryn Gill's Strings of Book Pearls with photo illustrations of a pair of sets she made for two guys which also has pictures of their books before they were re-purposed to become pearls.

beads on wire makes earrings

Friday, February 11, 2011

tulips in Virginia while Mubarak resigns!!!

The past few weeks have been so much brighter because of the uplifting colors of fresh cut tulips and the exciting events unfolding in Egypt. This morning the Egyptians are celebrating the departure of the 30 year dictator Hosni Mubarak and the dissolving of his national political party of about 60 years. NPR article here. I have been glued to the cable news TV watching all the exciting interviews and live shots of peaceful protests.
Over the last 30 years we have seen this sort of peaceful protest dissolve numerous oppressive governments. It started with the Berlin wall and today in Egypt the middle east and Arab countries have joined the peoples movement against tyranny. I am excited for them and I hope they find a way to get a real representative government quickly and open up for business soon as possible.

Meanwhile today we found an article about the great fresh cut tulips we have been buying and enjoying in the Washington Post. I thought I should share it with my friends. I have always enjoyed tulips as cut flowers because they continue to grow once they have been cut and open and show off their colors after they have been separated from their bulbs. One of the reasons these locally grown tulips do last so long and bloom out fully is that they get to us 5 days faster than the ones that come from overseas. It is also funny that they can grow a million cut tulips a day during the winter season on a farm of only 8 acres  which supplies stores from Boston to Miami. The bulbs are grown over seas but the plants  develop here in green houses. This article tells it all every thing you might like to know about forcing tulips to bloom.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

new sketches-parrot tulips


One bunch of tulips which came straight upright like soldiers went into a nice bumpy vase hand made by Keith some years ago. It was a nice fit and on the first day the challenge after I got the sketch drawn was to find colors that were close to the ones I saw in the flowers and the vase both very muted and subtle. As the days marched forward I enjoyed the challenge four times. Then I moved on to the next batch of tulips which were parrot tulips too but this time red. 

Here you see three versions of the red parrot tulips in a vase I found from a maker who dated it 1945. It has a white glaze that has little bubbles of dark brown scattered unevenly over the surfaces inside and out but mostly near the top. I have one more sketch in this series of red tulip drawings waiting to be scanned which shows the tulips opening wide to reveal even more colors inside. I really enjoy watching the changes cut tulips go through as they grow inevitably towards our compost pile. It is nice knowing that these tulips were grown on a farm just outside of Washington DC. Local flowers grown help the economy and the environment. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

red and white

Tulips and roses grace my book shelf this afternoon. I am just home from my stress test and echo cardiogram tests and everything seems to be OK, at least nothing exceptionally unusual was discovered. I spent hours waiting for my turn to be tested in a series of tests that make up the stress test which was rather frustrating on an empty stomach. It is good news to know that I don't have some major problem but I will not know the full story until near the end of the month when my doctor will have reviewed all the test results in detail and brief me on my condition. It is a relief to have this baseline testing done at last.

My good nurse was great help today, taking me first thing to the clinic for my tests and bringing lovely flowers for me to draw and photograph this week. After three days without coffee or any caffeine he made me a pot of fresh coffee and found a chocolate cup cake to enjoy when I came home. What a prince! During my long waits at the clinic I read about 6 chapters in my book on the two John Tradescants royal gardeners to James I and Charles I of England. Only a couple more chapters to read before I reach the end of their story. Besides rare and exotic plants they also collected a cabinet of curiosities which are still housed at Oxford University and include a mantle which is reported to have belonged to Powhatan the Chief of Chesapeake Indians and father of Pocahontas. It is still there for visitors to see and may have been collected by the younger John Tradescant when he went to Jamestown, VA in the 1630's to collect plants, shrubs, trees for gardens and curiosities for the Tradescant ark.