Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend at a Glance

Scenes of Fredericksburg Union Cemetary Illumination Remembrance. It is always amazing what one can discover right in your own back yard. Vacation locally, it is a great way to grow your local economy!!!!

15,000 graves known and unknown from the Union Forces at the Battle of Fredericksburg. A truely amazing and breathtaking sight. All of the luminaries were created and lit by local Scout troops and the event was run by the National Park Service Rangers. A visit to this park is a MUST for anyone coming thru Fredericksburg!

Father and son walking back to the car along the Sunken Road that bisects the battlefield and played a major role in the siege of Fredericksburg.

The Seniors of Mountain View Orchestra. Matthew is the second from the left. Their last concert was Thursday evening and they recieved commemorative plaques from their Orchestra teacher. This was his first class to be with him from Freshman year to Senior year. The Concert was wonderful and featured music ranging from jimi Hendrix Purple Haze to the John Williams Trilogy to a Cello Quartet playing Apocalyptica!!!!

The last time that brother and sister will play together under the same director. Hopefully Matthew will continue to play an instrument!!! Playing the violin definately added a huge benefit to his High School career!

Wonderful garden visitors.



Foxgloves. The glories of the garden continue to fascinate!!

Now it is time to join Becca in the kitchen were we are going to create C-A-K-E, with chocolate and raspberry sauce! Couldn't ask for a nicer birthday!!
I hope that all of you have enjoyed your holiday weekend, where ever you have found yourselves!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Art and Soul Project #2

As many of you know, I ifnd it extremely difficult to pass by a used book sale, and in fact our local library holds a sale at the firts of each month!! I ahve been collecting abused and tattered books for a long time and waiting for the opportunity to take a class with collage artist and painter Cathy Taylor. Cathy offered her class, Anthologies , this year at Art and Soul . Above you see one fo the two large collage pieces that I created. And to make things even more astounding , I came home, added a few finishing touches and framed it immediately. Now it is ready to hang. Cathy has a wonderfully inovative way of looking at the innards of old books, many are destined for the trash pile. We literally ripped the covers off and dissected the book down to it's simplest elements, taking great joy in finding thredy spines and old end papers with the gorgeous patina of age.

Here it a tighter shot. I had found the book titles Elizabeth and Her German Garden, several years ago and had been saving it for this exact use!!! The title is done in Gold leaf and shows a bit of tarnish but is so glorious. I added a bit of vintage lace, other covers , a pagee from a gardening book, some daylily seed pods form my garden, various buttons and accents from other books, including spine pieces and there you have it!

The second collage that I created in class needed a bit more work upon returning home. I ahve finished added the necessary touches and all that is left is a frame. Thei collage is all about my wonderful Grandmother.
I used a picture of young Jenny that was taken in Sweden before she came to the US when she was 18.

Just below the tip of the frame that surrounds her picture you can see a recipe that was taken from her Luteran Church Cookbook. The recipe for Ice Box Cookies was one of Jenny's donations to the cookbook and her married name is printed in the bottom right hand corner. Throughout my childhood, we used this cookbook constantly for all sorts of recipes and it is now literally in tatters but still too very dear to throw out!!In one of her books I had discovered an ad from a swedish newspaper with info regarding ships passgae from Goteborg to the US. That ad had to be included ,as did her name that she had written on the inside of one of her books.
Jenny loved to garden and taught me many fo her gardening secrets so floral images and refeerences were a must. I also added bits of sewing supplies as she did glorious handwork. You can see a scrap of burgandy thread that someone had carefully wound onto a scrap of notebook paper, to be used on another project, (Jenny would have done something just like that), a bit of a vintage cloth tape measure, a wonderful purple glass button and a label from the top of an old spool of thread.

As I was prepping the spine of an old book to use as a collage element, some pages fell open and there tucked deep inside, were four pressed 4 leaf clovers!!! The book was published in the 20's and was a young adults novel, so we are sure that the clovers had been collecteed by the reader and forgotten. What sweet treasures! I carefully glued the clovers permanently to the page where they were and added a protective coat of matte medium. Once dry, I added the spine element to the collage. You can see it lying horizontally along the top right hand edge of the collage.

Jenny prided herself on always remembering the birthdays of all of her friends and relatives ,so the vintage lilac covered Best Wishes greeting card was an easy addition. She also took very good tender loving care of the birds that visited her wdnerful gardens, so the brass stamped flying bird added a wonderful element to finish off this collage.
I can see myself creating all sorts of similar collage pieces in the near future and I plan on adding many more fiber and fabric elements to make my collages unique and my own. Goodness knows, I have enough old books in the basement to get me thru the adventure!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Art and Soul Project #1

May I introduce Steam Punk Lily.

I started off my Art and Soul experience for 2010 with a class taught by the amazingly talented and super nice Julie Haymaker Thompson. Originally, when I was planning out my 2010, I had not penciled in a trip to art and Soul. Then I wnet to visit Julie's blog and read her post about joining the Hampton Schedule for teaching. Well, that announcement changed my plans completely!! That very day, I scheduled my trip with Julie's Steam Punk Lily being my first choice of classes! Isn't she wonderful!! We ahd sooo much fun and there were only three of us in the class. This will be the first and LAST time that Julie's classes will be so lightly attended!!! When i walked inot the dining area carrying my LiLy, I was swamped with eager questions and many hands trying to touch. Lily was freshly glued so I had to beat people back and ask them PLease,Please to look with their eyes not their hands!!! I am not sure just how man times I explained the process or how many times I raved about Julie and her talents and teaching abilities, but no one should plan on getting into her classes with ease. She is going to become an extrememly sought after teacher!!!!
For those of you who are not exactly sure just what the Term STEAMPUNK refers to, here is a definition from Wikipedia click here. I was not at all sure of the exact definition but I knew what the style looked like and once I saw Julie's class sample of Lily, I was hooked.

Lily was created by wrapping sheet pewter around a craft store bird form and then embellished with all sorts of bits and pieces and perched on a collaged wooden egg. Julie taught us how to use all sorts of metal based paints and oxodozing agents to achieve that authentic steampunk grunge look. We each added our own touched by varying the trims and stitching patterns that we used. We also had a chance to play with Paper Clay containing volcanic ash. We used the clay to create various hat styles .

As I was thoroughly enjoying the class with Julie I realized just who she reminded me of. I felt like I ahd known Julie for along time and then I realized that she closely resembled my good friend Trina of the Paper Flea Market. As nit happened the super talented Trina would be attending Art and Soul begining on Saturday, to take a class and to be a vendor at the Bazaar on Saturday night. As it happened Trina's table at the Bazaar was immediately behind Julie's table. I was so right- they do look like long lost twins!!! The resemblance was really uncanny and the two quickly became fast friends. Here you can see for yourself with Trina on the left and Julie on the right!! After we had all broken down our booths from the vendor sale, we met up at the Hotel Bar and had a good visit and debrief. It was all very necessary after a very hectic and noisey three hour sale.
The ART and Soul Retreats are so much more than art classes ! Theya re amazing gatherings of like minded artists and creative people who all speak similar art languages and are driven by the same desires to create. I have decided that these trips are my versions of a week at a Spa. This is my place to recharge my enthusiasm and regain my excitement about the creative journey that I am traveling. I will be forever grateful to all of the wonderful people that I have met and the teachers who have shared their time and talents. The amount of validation that I recieved as an artist is truely empowering!!!!
Stay tuned for the next several blog posts in which I will reveal the rest of the classes and projects created at Art and Soul 2010.!

Monday, May 24, 2010

OVerflowing with Inspiration......

and affirmation and friendships and enthusiasm, I am back form Art and Soul! I will write a longer post soon. I had hoped to write while at the retreat but when I discovered I would be charged for internet time, I decided that I would not support the Hotel's efforts to seperate me from more $$$. Hard to believe that one can get free WI-FI at most coffee shops but at a Hilton owned Hotel, one has to pay for the Internet!!!

I am off to unpack and get sorted out. I'll be back with a picture packed post soon!!!

(These two pictures are the first two pages created with Traci Bunkers in her Art Journaling for Virgins Class.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yummy Harvest

Before leaving for Hampton Virginia to attend Art and Soul, I have had to take care of a few chores. Grocery shopping for the family in hopes that at least some meals will be eaten at home while I am gone, picking up various prescription refills etc., returning library books, doing laundry (leaving the folding) and harvesting the continueing starwberrry crop! The harvesting was by far the most fun, and oh so tasty!!!
We have a pretty small patch- 2 rows about 4 feet long and this was the yield!!! Whoo Hooo!! I think that it might have SOMETHING to do with the fact that we use only organic methods on the property and that we have an enormous hooly bush nearby that blooms at the same time a sthe strawberries. When the holly is in bloom the air literally hums and the bush quivers from the movement and feeding frenzy of hundreds of Honey and Bumble bees. I know that the berry plants got alot of attention from the bees waiting patiently in line for the banquet at the Holly bush!!!! Got to love those bees!!!
In the afternoon, onWednesday, I will be on my way to Art and Soul. I will be taking three classes. I have an Assemblage class with Julie Haymaker thompson on Thursday, an Art Journaling class with Traci Bunkers on Friday, an informal Art Journaling group meeting with Diana Trout on Friday evening , and a collage class with Cathy Thomas on Saturday. On Saturday evening I will be representing Artistic Artifacts at the vendor fair and selling hand dyed vintage linens and various other unique treasures for wonderful artistic creations.
I will be taking my laptop with me and I hope to have a few moments to blog and at least share some pictures, during the retreat.
In the meantime, Art On all!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I was an Art in the Park Groupie!!!

We were blessed with wonderful weather this past weekend, here in Virginia. It was perfect for the Annual Art in the Park event at Hurkamp Park in Fredericksburg. This lovely little park is conveniently located just down the block from Liberty Town and many of my art friends were setting up booths for the show. I was determined to go to the show this year,as I had not been before and I made sure that I let my pals know that I was available to lend a hand. It was such fun!!!

This wonderful collage assemblage piece is by my wonderfull friend Leslie Brier of Brier Design. I really love this piece - it just makes me laugh!!!

Leslie had a lovely spot in the park and her booth got lots of good attention!!

This was Anna Branner's first Fair experience and she did very well!! She got a ribbon for best forward thinking use of her media- clay. It was such fun to see people drawn to her wonderful slip ware pieces!!!!

Sensational fiber artist and wonderful new friendLori McCown had a marvelous array of her beautiful art quilts and knit ware scarves and wraps. Lori's art wowed many viewers, and also did very well. I was in her booth chatting ,when a lovely man came into her space and stode gazing at several of her stunning pieces. He turned to Lori and said "I am absolutely Smitten!" What wonderful words for any artist to hear. With Lori's wonderful works of color and texture, it is also extrememly appropriate!!!

Here you see a massive pile of Lori's wonderful knit pieces!! Remember that you can click on any of the shots for a close up view!!

Beth Sperlazza is a wonderful potter and teacher who also is based out of Liberty Town. She teaches all of the kid's pottery classes and does a fabulous job!! I fell in love with this wonderful little bowl and had to have it. Beth has a fabulous line of functional stoneware and does amazing finish work and glaze work on all of her pieces. She is definately a potter to keep a close eye on!!!

I met a wonderful lady who grew up in Costa Rica and now calls Lake Anna, VA her home. Her name is LaLa and she creates LaLa's Leaves. She creates glorious cement leaves using real leaves as her moulds. She paints them beautifully in raku like colors and has made wonderful stands so they can be used as platters, bowls, soap dishes, birdbathes and wonderful down spout water diverters. She is such a lovely gal and I really enjoyed talking with her. I had to take a photo of her sign as we share more than a love of plants and art. We are both LaLa's!!! She earned her name from a neighbor child who could not pronounce Ola, the name that she had been given by her grandchildren. She soon became LaLa to everyone. When I was small my baby brothe Peter, could not say Elizabeth, so I became LaLa. Since then, many children who I have known since they were infants, have called me LaLa and I love it!!!

Here is one of LaLa 's wonderful leaves holding some stunning Peonies.

I had a wonderful time at the Show, carrying and setting up, moving vehicles, and fetching forgotten items from Liberty Town Studios. I think that one of my top priorities for 2011 will bebuilding an inventory so I may participate as an artist at this wonderful show.
As my husband said, I had better start creating a production schedule NOW!!! He knows me so well!!!!

Just a little note from the garden, my Bearded Iris are almost done and my Siberian and Japanese Iris are coming on strong. It was a tough season for the Bearded Iris this year- too many swings from hot to cool. Every season brings new surprises!!!
This is the fourth season for my Gertrude Jeykly Rose and the third season in this sunny spot. I wisht ath you could enjoy the amazing fragrance with me, but at least you can see the glorious blooms!!! The bush is completely covered and is responding famously to the banana peels and coffee grounds that I feed it with!!

I hope that you are all enjoying the seasons gifts wherever you are!!!!

Have a very creative week!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

In a Beading State of Mind

Since April 20 and the announcements that there was oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico and that the oil companies had no idea how to deal with it all, I have been working on beading projects. I am extremely upset about this spill and the devastation that is being brought on the environment and the people who struggle to make their living from the gifts from the sea. I am totally apalled at how the compaqnies involved are dealing with this mega disaster. I know that alot of my anxiety goes back to a time when I was a uyoungster on the beaches in Santa Barbara California, during the oil spills in the Santa Barbara Chanel. I walked those beaches and we helped to rescue birds and sea life from the devastation. I have never forgotten coming home after a trip to the beach and having to clean the oil tar off of our feet with gasoline or kerosene. That spill was a drop in the bucket compared to this one. They say that things that happen early on in your life, can greatly impact your adult life. In my case this spill has brought on a huge wave of anger towards the oil companies who are doing all they can to make money and cut corners to get what they want. It has also reinvigorated my energy to fight any forms of offshore drilling anywhere along our shores as it is totally obvious that the Oil companies are not to be trusted.
I also have extended family members who make their livings as fishermen,, who work on the sea and care for the animals and fishes who inhabit it and who depend on the pristine beaches of Cape Cod , for their livelyhood, through tourism and summer rental properties. The oceans give us so very much and there is a very definate limit as to how much we can perturb the environment, before we are left with an empty lifeless pool.
In my state of stress I have turned to the rhythmic activity of creative beadwork, in the evening. I am working on projects to encase my own treasured gifts from the sea.

This first attempt at bead weaving around glass, turned out better than I had hoped. I found this piece of coke bottle glass at the mouth of the Potomac river. The color is wonderful and I love the grid texture. The piece is bigger than most pieces that I have, at about 2 by 3 inches. I am planning on making it into a focal pendant for a glass necklace combined with some of my treasured african recycled glass beads.

This is a piece of an old blue glass canning jar that I found in the surf at Nauset Beach on Cape Cod , last summer. This will also be a focal pendant.

This teardrop shaped piece is a lovely sea green color and it is so very smooth. I love creating these pieces and I hope to create several to offer as pendants, in my Etsy shop. If anyone of you has a special piece of glass or a stone that you would like to be able to wear as a pendant , feel free to contact me! (for email see my profile on the right hand border of this blog)
I would love to do some custom pieces for those who might be interested.
I really did not intend to rant about the oil spill situation, I guess that I really did not know the extent of my anger about this situation till I began to write about it!
Once again I have come to realize how very important my art is to my state of well being and to my abilities to manage various stressors that can arise from the most distant of events.
Art heals, art is therapy, art is very important.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For Everyone who loves Dogs and needs a laugh!!

Click on the link below!!!
Latin Lab

As K.C. Willis said on her Face Book page today, "if this does not make you laugh out loud , check your pulse!"
HMMMMM I wonder if I could train Buddy to do this??? NOT!!!!!

Have a great Day!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Expressions of Elizabeth Etsy Shop Reopens

This will be a very quick post just to let you all know that I have
Relaunched my ETSY Shop
and I am now offereing my Collaged Clip Boards for sale at this time.

Below you will see photos of the newly listed boards and you can click on the link to my Etsy Shop in the side bar on the right, to get specific info!

I will be listing many of my other items to the shop in the next few days. Some of the items that you will find there include my Collage Cuffs made from vintage fabrics, handstitched and embellished with beads and buttons, my handmade Beaded Jewelry, Cashmere Posey Pins and my Freeform hand beaded creations. Stop by and say hello when you get the chance!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Simple Gifts: Fruit and Flowers

I have some very simple, yet wonderful, gifts to share with all of my wonderful readers, as you start your week. Yesterday, on Mother's Day, very appropriately, I began my day doing two of my very favorite growing season chores! Harvesting my very own strawberries from my year old organically grown strawberry patch and picking some of my fabulous roses.

This rose is one of my most treasured plants. I have no idea of the name of this rose. I do know that it is extremely hardy , very fragrant and it is a climbing rose. I found this rose on an abandoned homestead in Oklahoma. I took several cuttings from the enormous mother plant that was climbing up and thru some very old trees and had been left on it's own for many many years. To my great delight, all of my cuttings grew roots and I established a very healthy small bush in my garden in Oklahoma. (Yep, I can now officially add the talent of Rose Rustler to my resume!!)Two years later we found that we were moving back to the East Coast and I vowed that my rose bush was coming with us. I dug it up and after 5 years in her new home and blooming moderatley well, she is blooming her fool head off!! WHooo Hoooo!!! The very best kind of garden success!!!!

these blooms are from my Gertrude Jekyl rose bush and are also extrememly fragrant. I don't even bother with roses that are not wonderfully fragrant!!!

By the way, the berries are juicy and delicious!!!!

Have a wonderfully artistic week!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fabulous Inspiration!!

Working with kids and learning from kids and creating with kids is one of my main sources of INSPIRATION!!!
Last Friday, I returned to Fredericksburg Academy to help the 5th grade students finish up their collaged clip boards. The students were also working on a gift for their mom's for Mother's Day. Their stupendous art teacher, Mirinda Reynolds, had combined a coiled clay pot lesson with the study of Ikebana (Japanese Flower arraingment) for a wonderfully creative and culturally expansive art lesson for the children. Mirinda does not let a single lesson get by without tying the creative endeavor into a world history lesson!! She is an AWESOME teacher and a wonderful artist!!
Several of the students had experienced some of the sorrows of kiln firing and had lost their pots in that part of the process. They had time to create new pots and fire them once but the glaze process had to be left behind. Together with the students, we came up with a very creative and colorful solution to the unglazed pots. With several decorative napkin tops, some matte medium and a bit of gold ric-rac , they put together a Mother's Day gift that any Mom would be thrilled to recieve!!! We were all very pleased! The students were also very proud of their inventive solution and realized yet again, that almost anything can be used in the creative process. Here are the modified glazed pots- our colorful collage pots!!!!

Now I will share with you some of the creative expressions in mixed media collage created by the 5th grade classes!!!

They were all so very proud of their work and excited to explore more collage projects.
The same days that I worked with the 5th graders, I also worked on projects with 47 4th graders. I posted about our project previously, here.

The students painted using acrylics on Art Wipes (our term for Baby wipes).

Then we strung our flag shaped painted pieces on a string with barrel swivels tied to it, to allow the flags to spin on the string. The kid's added embellishments and then picked favorite affirmations to place on each flag. As we were creating we talked about the meaning of the word affirmation and the traditions of the Tibetian Prayer flag and what those flags represent.
At the bottom of each banner we tied a small bell. It was a very successful project.
I had a fabulous time and I am very excited to be planning for next years projects. Mirinda has requested that I return in October!! Whooo Hooo!!!


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