Sunday, February 28, 2010

reflections on the february daily art journal

february daily art journal - like this one better
click on this mosaic to see the whole set on flickr.

here it is, my mosaic of all of the pages of my february art journal calendar. this is such an interesting process. here in february, i've been less religious about sitting down and doing a page every single day, so there are many which stretch across two pages, because i didn't do them until the second day, thereby giving myself more space. i'm finding that works a bit better for me.

here are the close-ups of the second half of february. the first half is here.

february 15 - doodlings on a heavily embroidered dress seen in jean-paul gaultier's haute couture show
february 16 - sketch of the inkle loom that we bought  for sabin to weave ribbon on at our beloved randbøldal museum.

 february 17 18 - experimenting with monoprinting
i scribbled a thick layer of pastels on an ordinary sheet of paper and then laid it against the page and drew on it. it was fun!

 february 19 - cutting up one of those free postcards
february 20 - more monoprinting, this time a spillover from the soujournal project

february 21 - 22 a doodle a bit inspired by these, seen on flickr,
but with my own motifs. 
this was the first time when i sat down with the calendar and didn't know what to do.
and i think that shows.

as you can see, the past few days, after elizabeth (aka my zen master) sent me a link to a wonderful artist named shannon rankin, i played with some maps and really found my groove. expect more map stuff in the near future. it was well-timed, because husband had just cut up a map to aid him in our property search and so i had some extra bits of map at my disposal. sometimes cutting into such things is hard for me, but since it had already been cut, i had no inhibitions.

february 23 - 24 thinking about redrawing maps
these are places that have been important to me.
but i shuffled them at will. that was liberating.

february 25 - 26  driving around, looking at 8 farm places had me spending a lot of time with maps over two days. i found myself wondering which road would lead to our new home.

february 27-28 - fragments of a topography

maps in general interest me - topographies and mapping and drawing and tracing the topography of a life. that's what we're going to do in moving, we're going to redraw our internal maps. i got a bit of a start on it here at the end of february.

i still don't have a clear idea where this project is taking me. but combined with the soujournal project, i'm doing a lot of art journaling this year and that seems like a good thing. in fact, it seems so good, i've been pondering ways of sharing it.

so i'm putting together an online art journaling course. at first it was only in my mind, but now it's spilled onto the page a bit and i've even begun to make up packets of pretty papers for it. i'm still at the planning stage, but i'd love to know if you'd be interested in taking an online art journaling course and coming to explore this medium with me? please email me with any ideas you have about this - what you'd like to do in such a course, how you'd like to interact with the other participants, thoughts on materials and the like.

and don't forget to check out my fabulous new orange coat below. it was totally worth breaking the year of not buying things. :-)

weakness in the face of fabulous orange coat

i broke my year of not buying things the other day while house-hunting. i had an hour to kill and lo and behold, in a little bitty town called gammelby (old town) that had a handful of houses and a B&B, i ran onto a large, modern building which said it was an outlet for the danish clothing brand bison. i had to go somewhere, since i wasn't due at the next house for an hour, so i went in. the shop was full of tempting things, but not all of the prices were that tempting. however, i went weak in the knees (and the pocketbook) in the face of this fabulous orange wool coat for 50% off, to boot. i made husband take some pictures of me in it on our walk in the woods yesterday. i hope you agree that it was too good to pass up.

when you fall off the horse, you just have to get back on, so i'll try to pick up the shattered pieces of my year of not buying things and soldier on. and i'm thinking it will help that i have a fabulous coat to wear.

Friday, February 26, 2010

room for a pony

two days. eight properties. so many thoughts swirling in my head. i think i've narrowed the 8 to 4. and can safely say that two are totally and completely out. another one, i didn't actually get to look at due to it being inhabited by germans with whom i shared no language and the scattered disorganization of the agent responsible for the property.  and one ruled out based on the fact that i drove past the wrong one (tho' that one was great!) because someone had written down/told us the wrong address.  and i bought a truly fabulous orange coat (hangs head in shame at violation of year of not buying things) at an outlet i stumbled on just east of the middle of nowhere.

but how DO you decide which house to buy? there are so many factors at play, it seems overwhelming. we want a horse (danish law says horses are social animals and we have to have two, so actually, we want two). we want enough land for said horses and for a big garden. we want a nice barn. we want a house that although it might need some fixing up, is livable in the meantime. we want it to be within a reasonable distance to work and school and grocery stores. we don't want to be too far from other people, but not too close either. we don't want there to be a highway planned through the middle of the property. we want it to be a good neighborhood without too many originaler. there should be a riding school nearby. it should be big enough for my coming fabric shop/café/blog camp HQ. there shouldn't be bits of it falling off. we shouldn't wish that it came with a bulldozer.

the ideal property would actually be the land from one i looked at, the house from another and the barn from a third. where i grew up, my parents found the land, built a basement and moved in the house and barn from other locations, so they combined the things they wanted in one place. i'm afraid with large brick buildings, that's not going to be possible here. so we're going to have to make the decision the old fashioned way. by talking about it endlessly and thinking really hard. sigh.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

poking about in my drawers (not THOSE drawers)

at blog camp, we talked quite a lot about the many drawers in this house. and to be honest, i'd never thought that much about it before. but with three different units that used to stand a little shop somewhere, we do have an awful lot of drawers around here.  the drawer unit above stands in the famed blue room and is in the worst shape. it needs a serious renovation. as you can see, two of the drawers aren't even in it. they're in husband's workshop, waiting to be fixed. but frankly the other drawers aren't that far behind. the knobs don't stay in and often, i have to get the drawer below open and reach up to open the one above. but it serves its purpose, which is the storage of mostly pretty paper.  the blog campers got to partake of the abundance, so they can vouch for how much is there (a totally obscene amount, i admit).

anyway, i promised marie-thérèse that i would give you a peek inside the drawers:

 1 drawer of pretty paper

 one drawer full of paint and painting supplies

 one drawer full of embellishments and alphabets

drawer #2 of pretty paper

 glue gun and various die cutting tools.
and a bar of soap i intend to felt at some point.

 drawer #3 of pretty paper

 oh look, more pretty paper.

what a surprise - pretty paper.

 and drawer #4 of pretty paper.

various miscellaneous goodies.
beeswax for encaustic work, old iPod boxes, etc.
there's also a year's worth of starbucks sleeves.
they would make a great little mini-book, you know.

one drawer is full of CDs (lounge and chill, of course).
and somehow i missed getting pix of the one w/gocco cards, zip-locs and tape.
mmm, tape.

and as for those blue fabric boxes in the drawer holes, one is full of gocco bulbs & screens and the other is sabin's stuff - pipe cleaners, felting supplies and perleplader (for those beads that you iron).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

dreams of istanbul

i wander the house, camera in hand, looking for something to photograph as my photo of the day. today, the light seemed good, so i tried for the umpteenth time to photograph the beautiful little turkish shadow puppet i bought last autumn when i was in istanbul. today, i finally got a shot i liked. one that seemed to show the luminescence of the painted leather of which the puppet is made.

i love this aspect of the 365 project, tho' i will admit i'm otherwise in the throes of a february malaise at the moment. but, the fact of the need to find something to photograph every day at times takes me on a pleasant trip down memory lane. in fact, i was quite transported by this one.

i didn't have much time in istanbul last autumn, but at nearly 10 p.m. on the one evening i had, i was wandering the streets and i happened upon a used book market near taxsim square. one of the stalls was selling these shadow puppets. i must have been so caught up in talking to the artist who made them that i didn't take any photos of the stall itself. he told me about the plays which feature characters named karagöz and hacivat. the figures are stock caricatures, but of the type that say something amusing and true about those they depict - albanians, armenians, jews, greeks, turks from anatolia and turks from instanbul. i wanted to buy a whole set of the puppets, they were so beautiful, but i settled for the one with the boat. it's from a traditional story in which karagöz and hacivat are kicked out by their wives and take a job ferrying across the bosporus.  i'll admit i was just charmed by the boat. you can read more about the turkish shadow plays here. this website is run by the artist who i bought my puppet from.

i was charmed by other sights at that market as well...

i bought a book there on ottoman navigational charts, but i'll have to save that one for another day. i'm certain to be lacking something to photograph again in the near future. but for now, i'll just go on dreaming of istanbul.

corner view: street photography

i haven't done one of jane's lovely corner views in ages, but today, it was street photography and i realized i have some copenhagen street shots that i hadn't previously shared (i also lost some in the big death/resuscitation of the iMac saga, but i won't dwell on that). so here, i give you some interesting bits from the streets of copenhagen last november:

 "pear danish" - means as danish as you can get.
this in a decidedly not danish neighborhood.
i love danish irony.

 nørrebro theatre.
love that big N typeface.

 once you start to look, there are bits and pieces of street art everywhere.

 this says "all hanging of posters forbidden"

and right next to it: loads of rather graphic posters for a theatre piece.

this one went up on across ø/öresund at the time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

if it's tuesday it must be random, right?

~ i've reached the bit of life of pi where pi finds himself in a 26' lifeboat with a 450 pound tiger named richard parker and i've remembered why i didn't really get into the book previously. it raises my heart rate to nearly unbearable levels just reading it. and i can't sit still at all from squirming all around. at least the tiger has taken care of that awful hyena now. he was bugging the hell out of me.

~ nobel prize-winning economist/new york times columnist paul krugman has two cats named doris lessing and albert einstein. i think that's so cool.

~ i'm starting to have a time alone deficit. husband is working on big, giant spreadsheets and has been working at home. and i realize that i like being by myself. and even need to be by myself. soon.

~ i just found myself writing an email on the pleasures of montenegro and now i want to go there.

~ is it just me or does it sometimes seem like everyone else has it all figured out and you're the only one being totally left behind?

~ one of my worst fears has come true...after those people from high school found me on facebook, one of them took a break from praying in her status updates to suggest a 25-year class reunion for this summer. and oddly, i found myself saying "sure, if i'm in the country," which led me to believe that i had suffered a blow to the head that i didn't remember (which perhaps only PROVED the blow to the head), which caused quite a lot of alarm laughter amongst my real friends, which ended up quite fun.  leaving me, once again, with mixed feelings about that whole being found by the old school crowd and about facebook in general.

~  i heard they're going to start charging for facebook sometime next summer. i can tell you that when that happens, i will immediately leave. that ship has sailed, people.

~ speaking of facebook, although i didn't have the heart to turn down the friendship requests of the old classmates, i have no qualms whatsoever about passive aggressively swearing like a sailor and praying to  nordic gods in my status updates. things which are probably far more offensive to them than me ignoring their friend requests.

~ and while we're on the subject of facebook or twitter for that matter, if you find yourself at any point typing the word toilet along with too much information about your own bodily functions, for the love of odin, erase it and write something about a kitten instead. we seriously don't want to read that shit. pun intended.

~ what on earth am i going to take a picture of today for my 365 project? as spud says, this 365 thing is a marathon and i'm starting to think that it's making my lungs give out.

~ random words deserve random pictures.

Monday, February 22, 2010

jewels in the blogosphere

lovely se'lah of the necessary room has once again sponsored a gift of jewels. random acts of giving and kindness, flowing from the blogosphere into the real world. you sign up, she matches you with another blogger somewhere in the world and you send that person a little gift and a nice card. meanwhile, someone else, somewhere, is sending you a little gift and a card. just because. and everyone's day is that much brighter.

my gift of jewels from planetmfiles arrived on saturday. it's the sweetest little crocheted bookmark and it came with the nicest, bright, cheery card. thank you gayle!!

yes, that's yann martel's life of pi, which i've owned for ages and tried to read several times, but never really got started. then, thanks to sara's photo and kristine's (i would link, but apparently her blog is now invitation only and i'm not invited. sniff.) encouragement in the BC365 flickr group, i picked it up again and this time around, i'm really liking it.

and what i sent? here's a peek, tho' i won't say to whom i sent it, in case it hasn't arrived yet:

aging system fails to keep up with new economic reality

it's a very interesting experience, this being unemployed and encountering the social welfare system to which i've paid so dearly for so many years, both through my (rather alarmingly high) taxes and through an extra unemployment insurance called an A-kasse, through my union. although a job is on my immediate horizon, it won't start 'til april, so i need to enter the "dagpenge" or "day-money" system for a month. and in fact, having paid into the system for so long, i actually want to try it out, to see how it works.  it is an interesting, frustrating and yes, even infuriating experience. and a huge eye-opener into a system that has not kept up with the reality of those facing unemployment today.

in many ways, i think it's fair enough for there to be some oversight and monitoring of people who are, as the brits put it, on the dole. so a certain amount of paperwork is fair enough. it's also fair enough that you have to be actively seeking employment so that you can rejoin the ranks of taxpayer and not payee (tho' interestingly, you ARE taxed on the money you get from the government - that's a whole 'nother issue that i won't go into at the moment).

the first thing you are asked to do is enter your "CV" into an old-fashioned and cumbersome online system called the jobnet. i am, as you know, quite good at things internet and it still took me the better part of an hour to do this. there is one point where you should give a written description of your work life thus far and the skills and talents you have to offer to an employer. sort of like you do at the top of a normal CV - a profile of yourself. however, it is limited to 250 characters, so it's kind of like the twitter version of who you are and what you want. i found this quite limiting, i must say.

at the end, after you have entered all of this, the system helpfully suggests some jobs to you that are found in its database. for me, the system admitted that it didn't have anything that matched my profile, but suggested that i have a look at several jobs that were marked as "hot" with a little red chili pepper symbol. the "hot" jobs the system suggested i apply for included: telemarketer for a mobile phone company, helper in a nursing home and yes, you guessed it, cleaning staff in a hotel. at this point, i said, aloud, WTF?

apparently the system, which forces you to spend the best part of an hour entering a whole lot of information about your work experience and education, but will not allow you to actually upload your real CV, doesn't actually know what masters degrees and ph.d. programs and fulbright scholarships and elite american universities really are. is it really relevant for me to enter my real and true information into this system that is so clearly targeted at someone on a totally different plane(t) than i am?

i realize that this sounds rather arrogant and in a way, i don't mean it to, but in a way, i do. seriously? this system was clearly developed when denmark's unemployment was for all intents and purposes nul. so anyone who was on the job market was looking for telemarketing or a cleaning job. but now, the reality is something quite different--there is a job market full of highly-educated people with extensive work experience on the market. and the system hasn't changed to reflect this.

next week, i actually must attend a two-day course which will help me determine my "competence" and then write a CV. hello, people. i could TEACH that course. without preparing in advance.

i also have to log into this ridiculous jobnet on a weekly basis and apply for two jobs. two jobs that are apparently listed there in the jobnet. so they are actually FORCING me to apply for telemarketing and cleaning jobs in order to get grocery money for one month. it makes no difference whatsoever that i have a job lined up, nor does it matter that i've paid into the unemployment insurance scheme for ten years. if i want that one month of assistance, i have to jump their hoops, because they have made the hoops the same for all.

although it gave me a serious headache mid-afternoon when i was knee-deep in all of it, i am now more relaxed and ready to take it as the sociological experiment that it is for me. a test of the system, if you will. and i'm going to do quite a lot of writing (in my journal, don't worry, i won't subject you all to all of it) about the psychological effects of such a system. i have to admit that it already feels quite defeating and psychologically damaging to enter my experience and education and have the system suggest to me that i become a telemarketer. the implications on job seekers and society at large are potentially devastating.

i'll bet this isn't the only example of a system that's broken in the face of the new economic reality.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

a very creative weekend

oh how i am going to miss this room when we sell the house and move (that offer we got a month or so ago, we rejected in the end, so it's not yet sold). but, knowing our time is limited, we are spending as much time as possible in the famed blue room. on saturday, there were two sewing machines whirring away and canvases being painted. there were top models' outfits being designed and several sketches for a new ladybug plushie to be made as a gift for a friend. there was art journaling and sketching of garden designs. it was a veritable beehive of creative activity.

husband's oldest daughter's version of a plain spoken quilt top - all done.
the canvases were done by sabin and middle sister.

a baby duvet cover that i'm working on.
i was totally inspired by the quilt K is making.

my tanya whelan dolce quilt - fending off the winter blues.

i even got to the quilting stage of it and it's now all quilted (tho' not in this photo) and just awaiting binding.

a peek at the back of the dolce quilt.
it was dark when i finished the quilting this evening, so no pix of that.

a springy dress that i made for myself from the adult couture sewing book that i bought from pomadour24 on etsy. i can highly recommend the japanese sewing pattern books. the styles are simple and beautiful and even without japanese, you can follow the directions because the pictures are brilliant. it took a bit longer than it would have had i been able to read the directions, but in the end, it really wasn't bad at all. the patterns come on big sheets in the back of the book and you trace them off onto pattern paper and then follow the well-done layouts and directions. in just one afternoon, i had a new dress!

some fabulous leather pieces i acquired recently.
i've got plans for this, so stay tuned!

i spent some time just admiring my fabric stash.
and after looking at various stash groups on flickr, i realize it's quite manageable.
and in fact, i probably should really get some more if i want it to be a stash to be proud of. :-)
luckily, a bunch of goodness is on its way from here and here.
and i'm sure some of it will arrive this week.

another shot of the paintings.
sabin's on the left, m's on the right.
i think sabin's sense of color is absolutely brilliant.

she even had to mix to get those colors! i'm so proud of her.

and i ADORE these tiny canvases, especially the one with the face.
and how she used bits and pieces from the little plate of fabric and thread clippings.
i knew those would come in handy for something.

it's just too bad those canvases are so tiny (like 3" x 2")!

i haven't actually been counting towards my 100 creative things in 2010, but i think we're on track. i'm going to try to upload everything to flickr and do a mosaic to count in the near future. with various computers having been in the shop, my pictures are in three different locations. sigh.

all of this made it almost ok that it snowed all weekend!! 

what did you make this weekend?