Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

When is a cigar box not a cigar box? When it's a Bailey's Irish Creme decorative tin.

This one full of the inside spines of old books-on-CD cases. The cases wear out fairly often at the library and then just get thrown out.

I don't know what I'll do with them, use them some way in home-made journals I think. But they will patiently wait for me until I figure it out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Then and Now - St. Ives, Cornwall

The beach in St. Ives circa 1930's,

Seventy years later!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen!

This stunning piece of collage and assemblage is hanging
on the wall of my friend Susan's bathroom.

Very appropriate, since it says "Ladies" and "Gentlemen."

I spend quite a bit of time looking at it and finding all
the wonderful bits of ephemera and artistic touches.

She purchased it on her last trip to Albuquerque, as always,
her discerning eye picked a winner!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life on the Coast

A path through the cypress trees in Carmel
looking towards Pebble Beach.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

More tiles from the Mural Memorial in Rockridge commemorating the 1991 firestorm in the Oakland Hills.

Many pets were lost in this devastating fire,

beloved cats and dogs,

members of the family,

some were rescued.

The fire ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres destroyed included 3,354 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units.

Friday, August 26, 2011

From the Bookshelf

The highlight of our recent Berkeley trip was seeing the Kurt Schwitters exhibit at the Berkeley Museum of Art. The exhibition book is a marvelous retrospective of his life and work. It was highly interesting to see these early (1920s through late 1940s) examples of collage and assemblage. And, how Schwitters often used his bits of paper and ephemera in a painterly fashion - form and colour - rather than for their intrinsic ephemeratic value. He called his new style of art Merz and published for many years a magazine of the same name. He left his native Germany in the late 1930s for Norway to escape the growing Nazi tide and then fled from there to England where he lived until his death in 1948. A fascinating exhibit and an interesting book. Once more a big thank you to Michelle Ward for giving me the "heads-up" on this exhibition! It runs thru the end of November, so if you're anywhere in the area it's well worth a visit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Mom

My mom would have been 86 today. She left us, quietly in her sleep over 11 years ago.
But she's never far from my mind. I see her every time I look in the mirror. I hear her when I laugh. The whiff of rose perfume makes me look over my shoulder to see if she's there. I find her expressions coming out of my mouth. I hope, when I hug my children they feel the same love and warmth and safety that I always did when she hugged me.

She was bright, she was funny, she loved to read, she sewed and knitted like a dream. She was a die-hard Dodger fan and loved the holidays. She fell in love with my dad during WWII when she was only 15 and they celebrated 54 years together. He passed first, but in the one blessing that Alzheimer's allowed her, she never knew he was gone. Happy Birthday Mom, you are missed and loved and thought of often.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

When is a cigar box not a cigar box? When it's a Whitman's Sampler Chocolate box. This one full of old toy train cars.

Swap meets are great places to find these, as well as thrift stores, garage sales and antique malls.

Wood, metal, plastic - they bring back a whiff of childhood and Christmas mornings under the tree. Both my dad and my brother were big HO fans and some of their train-love rubbed off on me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Creation" in Glass

Creation Window
(artist's watercolour rendering in preparation
for fabricating the actual stained glass)

View of the window from the exterior of the church

Our dear friend Christina Amri makes glorious, stunning art using glass. Most of Amri Studios work these days focuses on huge donor walls or history walls for hospitals and universities, all incorporating etched and carved sandblasted glass lit by white or colored -- and sometimes moving -- LEDs. Take the time to click the link above and see some of the truly amazing and inspirational work she and her artists are doing.

This gorgeous stained glass window (all of these photos are taken from the outside) is almost 20 years old and resides in the First Presbyterian Church in Oakland, the gift of devoted members of the church. We went to see it preceding their Sunday service. Since the congregation was gathering we didn't want to impose by taking pictures inside the church.

But as we passed by on our way back to the car, we noticed how beautiful this Creation Window was from the outside as well, so Margot took these shots.

Matthew Fox called this window "The face of 21st century religious art." The full story of how the window was created can be found here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

East Bay Breakfast

Those of you who know me, know that my favourite meal to have out is breakfast. I mean, any meal that has the possibility of including scones, croissants, bacon and/or sausage, bowls of latte and mimosas? No contest right?!

We had two outrageously wonderful breakfast experiences on our recent trip to Berkeley. First Mama's Royal Cafe in Oakland. Retro, funky, fun and so much more. The decorations include bits of leftover Oriental wood paneling from a former life as a Chinese restaurant, strings of Melmac coffee cups hung from the ceiling, and vintage aprons tacked to the walls.

Our booth even had an old built-in jukebox that played
"6 minutes of continuous music" for 5 cents.

The food was divine, they had cheese grits!
and the service top flight.
We will definitely return.

On Monday morning we started on our Fourth St. shopping in Berkeley with breakfast at Bette's Oceanview Diner, a Berkeley tradition since 1982. There's always a line, but the wait is worth it. Somehow we scored big and got a lovely outside table where we could people watch, as well as journal and crossword. Yummy potato pancakes for Margot and I had enough bacon and scones to keep me happy for days. The service was marvelous, they even bring out lap blankets for those not used to the California Coastal morning chill. A don't miss Berkeley destination.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life on the Coast

It's summer, our hills are brown -
but look how blue our ocean is!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

When in Berkeley last weekend we spent sometime in the Rockridge area - delightful cafes and lovely shopping, including a huge food hall where we gathered all we needed for a wonderful picnic dinner.

As we were walking back to our car under the BART bridge we came across this heartrending memorial to the Oakland Hills Firestorm of 1991. The titles wrap around three sides.

Over 2,000 handmade titles tell individual stories of loss, broken dreams, and human resilience.

I will be sharing many of these over the next few weeks.

I finally had to stop taking pictures because my eyes were too full of tears to focus.

Friday, August 19, 2011

From the Bookshelf

The subtitle for this wonderful book is "Radical Solutions for Exploiting the World's Most Versatile Medium" and boy howdy! is it full of dozens of amazing techniques and tactics for getting the most out of acrylic paints and mediums. Transfers, "skins", pouring, metallics and more. Author/Artist Patti Brady takes us step by step on how to achieve these out of the ordinary results. Several other artists are featured as well. I don't consider myself a painter, but as a mixed media collage and assemblage artist I found a massive amount of great material in this volume. I think you will also.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's Your Sign - East Bay

One of the fun things about visiting cities is all the wonderful vintage neon.

I added these shots to my collection on our trip up to Berkeley last weekend.

Margot spotted this one in nearby Albany and we made an immediate u-turn to go back and get the picture. How could you not love the Hotsy Totsy Club? Their motto is - "Keeping Albany tipsy since 1939".

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

When is a cigar box not a cigar box? When it's a wooden tea bag box that's just the right size for my over-sized Sennelier oil pastels.

These are so big and such juicy colours - even if I didn't love to use them in my mixed media art pieces they'd be fun to have just to look at and hold!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Then & Now - Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross Station in the mid 19th century

Kings Cross Station on our trip to England in 2006

Monday, August 15, 2011

Found Stacks Too!

Playing around again in those cigar boxes
labeled "Found Objects".

Street detritus, bottom of the junk drawer,
"Look what I found for you!"

Put it together, rearrange it,
rearrange it again - Found Stacks!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Life on the Coast

A bird, a bouy, and endless blue...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Road Trip - Berkeley

We are hitting the road for three lovely days in Berkeley. Dick Blick, Castle in the Air, the Art Museum to see the Kurt Schwitters exhibition (thanks to the heads-up from Michelle Ward!), and of course some yummy eating. Will probably stop by the City as well. This is our summer vacation (due to being understaffed at the library) and we're planning to make the most of it!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

From the (virtual) Bookshelf

Now some of you that know me will think this is almost sacrilegious, but I have joined the ranks of those with eReaders. I will never, never give up actual books - I'm too much in love with the feel, the smell, the history - just the bookiness of the actual book. But I do, as Chris says, like me some travel. And books are heavy to pack, and even a modest pile of paperbacks takes up valuable suitcase room. So the eReader is the perfect answer to this.
And then when I found out that Borders' huge going out of business sale included their Kobo eReaders (which come with 100 classics pre-loaded) for less than $80.00 - I was sold.

Cool antique-y look vinyl skin I ordered for my new eReader

I'm currently testing it out with Pride and Prejudice - have to admit I love the fact that I can make the type bigger. It's compatible with the free downloadable books offered by my library (which Kindle isn't) and seems quite easy to load and use.
Can't wait for the extra suitcase room on the next trip - I can bring back that much more ephemera!!