Saturday, March 30, 2013

Suitcase Saturday - Spring!

Yellow Buttercup

 Usually when I think of vintage suitcases
 I think rich browns, lovely sepia,
and maybe a matte black or two.

 Yellow Buttercup

But here's a spring bouquet of colourful beauties


 to brighten up this Saturday before Easter.

Michael Spence

 I can't guarantee that their fragrance is quite as sweet,

Vintage Wedding - Pinterest

But the luscious pinks, blues and yellows
 make me want to pack one and travel down a springtime lane!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Work in Progress

The flicker of an idea for this piece started when I found this wonderful 19th century map of London on Google images. I printed it out enlarging it 200% and used matte medium to affix it to an old composition board that I found lying around the garage studio.

 I used four stencils from Mary Beth Shaw's Stencil Girl -
 the 9x12 "Web" and the 6x6 "Web", "Gears" and "Rafters".

And one from Artistcellar's "Cathedral" series, 
I painted  with my palette of  Liquitex acrylics in 
Red Oxide, Unbleached Titanium and Noir Black.

A few squirts of Ranger's Adirondack Butterscoth Color Wash  gave a nice vintage feel. 
Once it was dry I began to play with positioning 
a few collage elements and embellishments,

 including this old CD that looks like a vintage clock,

and a handful of various gears. Not finished yet,
 but a promising start.  I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Sale on Esty

 Go to our 4ArtGirlz Esty shop  for a Welcome to Spring Sale - all items, including my ephemera paks, and altered invoices are 25% off through April 15.  Use the coupon code "altered" for big savings.

I call this collection "45 Easy Pieces." It's a great selection of 45 items from my personal ephemera collection. Each package is different, but will include:

--Page from 1950s issue of Life magazine with a full-page ad
--Foreign language Flash Cards (five each of German, Latin, Spanish, and Russian)
--Five Criminal Justice Flash Cards
--Page from old Sears Catalog (reproduction)
--Page from vintage Red Cross manual
--Page from Iranian phone book
--Color pages from a Chinese or Japanese book on how to read
--Cancelled vintage and/or modern postage stamps
--Vintage ledger paper or vintage hand-written recipes on ledger paper, depending on package sent
--Pages from vintage medical dictionary
--Page from Chinese newspaper
--Fabric scraps
--Page from vintage Spanish textbook
--Illustration from vintage children's book
--Map of a Paris arrondisement
--Vintage U.S. postal label

This collection is  "Bits & Bobs." It's a varied selection of small pieces that add that perfect touch to a collage, assemblage or scrapbook page, all gathered from my personal mixed-media collection. You get three packs of ephemera.

 Each package is different, but will includs:
bingo numbers letter titles,and some of the following - buttons, brass stampings, charms, costume jewelry, Monopoly tokens and more.Each package measures 3 x 5" and you get 3 packs for one price!

I have searched out vintage invoices from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and altered them by rubber stamping and collaging them with period and quirky ephemera. Many different sizes and styles.

Click on the links and pick up a bargain! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life on the Coast

After 10 years I finally got around to planting bulbs
 last fall and now we have daffodils!

Friday, March 22, 2013

From the Bookshelf

If you haven't seen this book or read this blog you are in for a massive treat. Ari Seth Cohen scours the streets of NYC taking pictures (always with permission - he's a very polite boy!) of fashionable women of "an uncertain age" (as Alice Carey, who's included in the book, says.)

Alice Carey

In both the book and on Mr. Cohen's blog  you'll see marvelous vintage clothes, to-die-for retro jewelry and as they say, "so much more!"

 Lynn Dell

 The women vary in age, size, ethnicity - but they all possess that innate sense of style - as Lynn Dell says "My philosophy is - fashion says me too. And style says only me." This book will make you feel wonderful; if like me, you're fast approaching that uncertain age and were wondering what the near future would bring style-wise or if you're younger, just look what you have to look forward to in the distance years ahead!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wonder Web Wednesday - Lynne Perrella

If you've followed my blog for any length of time you know how much I love the artwork of Lynne Perrella. I've taken numerous workshops and classes with Lynne and over the years have come to look upon her as my mentor in the artistic world.

 Her website shows off a wide variety of her art in many different areas - collage, illustration, assemblage, even party decorations!  Each section is headed by a wonderful banner of Lynne's artwork.

There's always a list of the current year's workshops and classes, a quarterly newsletter of the latest happenings in her art world and updates to her Etsy shop and publications.

 It's always a pleasure to drop by and check out the newest additions.  Perusing Lynne's artwork is like a mini-workshop - checking out techniques, discovering new uses for old supplies and being enveloped in fantastic colour combinations.

Iif you haven't been there, click the link and be prepared for artistic enjoyment,  you'll be back again and agian.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Museum Monday - Santa Barbara Museum of Art

A scant 90 miles south of us the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is a must see whenever we are down that way. Margot loves their extensive Asian section and I'm thrilled that they have Schwitters and Kandinsky in their permanent collection.  The exhibitions are always great and they have a very good museum gift shop.

From their website - The Santa Barbara Museum of Art opened to the public on June 5, 1941, in a building that was at one time the Santa Barbara Post Office (1914–1932). Chicago architect David Adler simplified the building’s fa├žade and created the Museum’s galleries, most notably Ludington Court which offers a dramatic sense of arrival for museum visitors. The newly renovated Park Wing Entrance and Luria Activities Center open in June 2006.
Over its history the Museum has expanded with the addition of the Stanley R. McCormick Gallery in 1942 and the Sterling and Preston Morton Galleries in 1963. Significant expansions came when the Alice Keck Park Wing opened to the public in 1985 and the Jean and Austin H. Peck, Jr. Wing in 1998. The Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, a center for art education activities, was established in 1991.

1941 -Brand new art museum takes over old post office building.

Today, the Museum’s 60,000 square feet include exhibition galleries, a Museum Store, Cafe, a 154-seat auditorium, a library containing 50,000 books and 55,000 slides, a children’s gallery dedicated to participatory interactive programming and an 11,500-square-foot off-site facility, the Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House.
The Museum is overseen by a 30-member Board of Trustees and administered by a staff of over 90 full and part-time employees. SBMA has 4,400 members and more than 325 volunteers serving as Trustees, Docents, members of the Museum’s Women’s Board and leaders of our advisory committees and art interest groups.
The Museum’s collection of the arts of Asia, Europe, and the Americas includes paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, ceramics, glass, jades, bronzes, lacquer, and textiles. The broad areas in which SBMA holds a significant number of works of exceptional quality include international antiquities from China, India, Greece, Rome, Egypt, and the Near East and 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century art from Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Particular strengths of the collection are 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary American painting, photography, and the arts of Asia, especially China.

 Woman in Grey on Board Ship Gazing at the Sea  - Ernest Ange Duez

Margot's favourite painting in their permanent collection.

Villas a Bordighaera - Claude Monet

and mine!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Wilard Suitcases

Willard Asylum New York State

 I found out about this through the wonderful mixed media grapevine - Michelle Ward told Lynne Perrella who e-mailed me about it. All photos are by Jon Crispin, who I ran across several years ago when I found his series of photos depicting old asylums. The quotes are from an article by  Hunter Oatman-Stanford that appeared on Collectors Weekly last November.

If you were committed to a psychiatric institution, unsure if you’d ever return to the life you knew before, what would you take with you? That sobering question hovers like an apparition over each of the Willard Asylum suitcases. From the 1910s through the 1960s, many patients at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane left suitcases behind when they passed away, with nobody to claim them. Upon the center’s closure in 1995, employees found hundreds of these time capsules stored in a locked attic. Working with the New York State Museum, former Willard staffers were able to preserve the hidden cache of luggage as part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Crispin has long been drawn to the ghostly remains of abandoned psychiatric institutions. After learning of the Willard suitcases, Crispin sought the museum’s permission to document each case and its contents. In 2011, Crispin completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the first phase of the project, which he recently finished. Next spring, a selection of his photos will accompany the inaugural exhibit at the San Francisco Exploratorium’s new location.

Crispin’s photographs restore a bit of dignity to the individuals who spent their lives within Willard’s walls. Curiously, the identities of these patients are still concealed by the state of New York, denied even to living relatives. Each suitcase offers a glimpse into the life of a unique individual, living in an era when those with mental disorders and disabilities were not only stigmatized but also isolated from society.

Jon Crispin: I’ve worked as a freelance photographer my whole life. In addition to doing work for clients, I’ve always kept my eye out for projects that interest me. In the ’80s, I came across some abandoned insane asylums in New York State, and thought, wow, I’d really like to get in these buildings and photograph them.

So I applied for a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, got it, and spent a couple of years photographing the interiors and exteriors of these buildings. When the psychiatric programs moved out and shut things down, they basically just closed the doors and walked away. They left all kinds of amazing objects inside these buildings, including patient records in leather-bound volumes.

In the mid-’90s, I heard that at Willard—one of the asylums in which I spent a lot of time photographing—the employees had saved all the patient suitcases that belonged to people who came to Willard and died there. Starting around 1910, they never threw them out.

Craig Williams at the New York State Museum fights an ongoing battle to bring objects like these into the collection, and that’s what happened. Willard was being closed as a psych center and converted to a treatment facility for criminals with drug problems. So the New York State Museum received this collection of suitcases, and displayed a few of the cases in 2004. I asked Craig if I could photograph these things, and he said, “Go right ahead.”

Initially, my idea was to pair the suitcase photographs with some indication of why these people were in Willard. As the project evolved, I found I wasn’t that interested in such a literal connection. The suitcases themselves tell me everything I want to know about these people. I don’t really care if they were psychotic; I care that this woman did beautiful needlework. I’m much more interested in the objects themselves and what people thought was important to have with them when they were sent away.

There are still empty cases that I haven’t photographed, but even those are interesting to me just as suitcases, and there’s a whole group of people that love old suitcases. I think one of the reasons the project has been so successful is because it appeals to people in very different areas. It appeals to people who had family members in psych centers or who worked in psych centers or who are interested in old Greek-revival architecture. I was posting a lot on my blog, and I got messages from people interested in fabric or needlepoint and ephemera like toothpaste tubes and stuff from the ’20s and ’30s that doesn’t exist anymore.

But every case was different; I was constantly blown away. It was very important to me not to carelessly rifle through these things and forget that they were somebody’s personal belongings. And I really have a lot of respect for these people as well as the nurses and doctors who worked at the facility. I came away from all of this and the asylum work I did in the ’80s thinking that the state was actually trying to help people. It wasn’t some hellhole where people were chained to the walls. They tried to help, and I think it’s important to keep that in mind.
I found the pictures and the story fascinating. There will be an upcoming photo exhibit at the new San Francisco Exploratorium.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Woman's Creepy is Another's...

 I found this article, about "the Hollywood Picker" Kevin Beer, in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of Flea Marketing Style. What caught my eye were these two pages and his quote "I found my first doll head in the Virginia woods over 30 years ago.I lost count after 200."

Now this is something that you either "get" or you totally don't.  But bizarre as it may seem to those of you who don't, there is a group of us out here who go for the doll heads, the more vintage and distressed the better!

 Though I have a long way to go before I come close to 200 (but then, I haven't been collecting for 30 years either) I do have a modest collection that I have scattered across the studio.The above - found at the bi-annual Peddlars' Faire in Cayucos one autumn and mounted in a rusty bed spring that was a birthday present last month.

A favourite thrift store provided this one,
 the body was falling off so I helped it along.

This beauty, still attached, was a steal at $2.00
 found at the SLO swap meet a few years ago. 

 An eBay score keeps company with a few other body parts. 
Some of you get this - for those that don't, 
just think, it keeps me off the streets
 (well, unless it's an antique street faire 
but that's another story!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Birthday Score!

For my birthday last month Margot gave me a certificate good for a 30 minute shopping spree through all her Sassy Feet embellishments, ribbons, findings, etc. And she wrote on the certificate "unlimited - no veto."

30 minutes is a good chunk of time, but Sassy Feet has a huge stash of yummy stuff.  I spent several days planning how to go about it.  What drawers to look through first, where to spend most of the time and so forth

As you can see from the pictures I made every minute count.  I finished with four minutes to spare, so Margot said "Why don't you go through my button box as well."  So I did and found three sets of beautys.

I did actually give her veto power - but she was fine with everything I picked.  What a lovely present from the best wife in the whole world!