Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the mosaic man

 Bumped into New York City's mosaic man (and his dog) on this past weekend.
He's been making mosaics on street light poles for 25 years!
Support his public street art by visiting artist Jim Powers site, themosaicman.com or walk the streets of the East Village and seek his works out yourself.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zoo Story

On my recent excursion to the Bahamas, I read an amazing book—so good, I sacrificed sun and sea to continue page turning. The book was called Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives. I'm not going to give you a book report or anything, but the story dips into the harsh truths of wildlife conservation and helps to answer the inevitable question of whether  zoos are good or bad. I highly recommend reading. 
After reading the book, I had some questions & thoughts and I felt I needed to visit my local zoos to help paint a clearer picture. First I went to the Central Park Zoo. The mini mecca of exotics located in the center of one of the most highly populated cities in the world, the zoo  does a modest job at showcasing the animals and providing them with decent enclosures.
Scenes from the visit include:
 baby mongoose...
sleeping penguins...  
a lap swimming polar bear...
sun bathing turtles and begging swans.

 Then I went to the Bronx Zoo. I went alone so I could observe the animals at my own speed. I focused on the primates, as I have a weak spot for prosimians and anthropoids.  

The jungle house was extremely quiet, not how you would ever expect the jungle to be. It was nap time and everyone was trying to sleep on display. I wondered if the monkeys ever have a peaceful sleep with so many people walking in and out of their bedrooms.
The gorillas were unreal. I could watch them for hours. I could watch the people watching the gorillas for hours too. It amazes me the way humans respond to them—most people can't believe there are other creatures on this planet that are so much like us.
My absolute favorite to see were the pygmy marmosets. The smallest of the primates, these little guys blow my mind. No bigger than a chipmunk, they look at you same way a curious 4 year old child would. This little guy was following my camera (a point and shoot that was bigger than him)! He made my day.
 After visiting the two zoos, my questions aren't completely answered. I still am not sure whether I think zoos are bad or good. I enjoyed watching the animals but it shouldn't always be about me. What's right for them?

Friday, June 24, 2011

odor proof your body with MS

Don't know how Kir found this, but it certainly made me smile—a young, active, pretty, free loving Martha Stewart (with absolutely no blemishes)!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My best friend Nicki is in the final steps of earning her MFA in film from San Francisco State. The preparation for her thesis film, Woo Woo, has consumed her the past few months and up until this point, Nicki has done all the work herself. She has really impressed me—I know the amount of work that goes into a daily TV show and it has a staff of about 80 people—she is managing all the parts behind the scenes.
When she started her first year in the graduate program, she asked me if I would art direct her thesis film. How could I refuse the opportunity to work with my best friend on a project that is the start of her career—I couldn't say no. 
It's been fun so far, 1950's image researching, photographing locations, prop shopping at Brimfield flea market... The film takes place in Astoria, Queens in the early 1960's—a period piece is more challenging then you might think.

A brief synopsis: Woo Woo tells the story of a young girl and her relationship to a brain damaged war veteran. Woo Woo, the war veteran, lost his ability to communicate after WWI. He now wanders the streets repeating "woo woo" to himself. The neighborhood children mock him. When the little girl's older sister makes up a story about Woo Woo's past, she becomes terrified of him. Her fear only heightens her curiosity as she begins to watch him from her window.

The first handmade prop I've made so far, is an embroidered Irish Blessing that will hang on the wall where the family gathers for meals.
First I ironed freezer paper to a piece of cotton fabric so I could run it through my inkjet printer. This is a brilliant, easy way to transfer a design onto fabric for embroidery. The small black text on this piece was all done with regular cotton thread. The green Irish Blessing and shamrocks were done with embroidery floss.
It feels so good to tie off the last threads and rub your fingers over a finished piece of embroidery. I always love the messiness of the back.
I found this lovely, old, lacey trim with a touch of green at Brimfield. Immediately upon spotting it, I knew it would be perfect for an Irish Blessing. I bast stitched the trim around the blessing and mitered the corners so it looked complete.
All that is left is framing. In order to print on the fabric, I was restricted to an 8 1/2" by 11" piece. It was perfect to fit in an 8" by 10" frame but there was not much wiggle room.
It wound up just fitting and I was able to pad the back a bit with batting to give the embroidery a soft, cushion feel.
VoilĂ !

Thursday, June 16, 2011

stranded on an island

 I just got back yesterday from a much needed vacation in the Bahamas. It was wonderful. We luckily only had one day of rain and that was enough. A 12 hour storm is plenty when you are trapped inside with barely anything to do. I had a few craft supplies with me, of course, but very few. As we anxiously waited for my sister to fly in from New York, not knowing if her flight was delayed or not—there is no internet access—I thought the only way to calm my nerves would be to make a little something for when she arrived, if she arrived...

 I found a pad of paper in a drawer and a pen. I had some supplies for an embroidery I was working on as well. Ashley suggested I make a banner announcing how excited we were that she made it! I decided on YAY! MELI (we call Melissa Meli for short).

 I call this ghetto craftin' and I kind of love it.
Ghetto Craftin': [get-oh krahft in] verb. When you use what you have available, when supplies are low or limited, to create something somewhat janky.
(I made it up)
 I hung it in the fogged up windows by a piece the thread that I baste stitched through the top of each piece of paper (oh I found a half roll of masking tape too).

When Melissa arrived off the ferry that evening, I felt so relieved! Yay! Meli, you made it!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

knotted together

I felt like I was in middle school again, while sitting on a plane last week, wrapping embroidery floss around ribbon cards and starting a friendship bracelet. It's been probably more than a decade since I've made one—in the back seat of the car, Dad driving, Mom passing me back snacks and Melissa stretching her feet onto my half of the seat, listening to Nirvana in my Walkman, with string safety pinned to my jeans on a family summer vacation up to Maine.
Knot after knot...I already want to make another.