Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wabi Sabi RR Sketch Book Project

The theme chosen by Bea for her book is Wabi-Sabi and she gave no clues to how she interpreted it.  Wabi Sabi is not a term many of us our familiar with so off I  go, Googling.  Is it a Japanese restaurant?  Globally, it appears to be a  popular name for chic restaurants though one in Australia was my favorite especially these posters from their bathroom.   
Google has all kinds of entries beyond the restaurants for using or abusing this name. How did we manage without Google?  I also found a store, in Taos NM, sportting the name and selling things Japanese.  This is how I look after hours of tramping around Taos when the temperature is in the high nineties.  

The popular esoteric description of the term "wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and understanding nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It's simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. This is the description favored by contemporary tea ceremony adherents and Buddhists.  It has been totally abused or as someone noted turned into sloppy art. 

 In my search I found the writings of Tim Wong, a photographer and Santa Fe gallery owner. Wabi Sabi - Learning to See the Invisible Tim Wong, Ph.D. & Akiko Hirano, Ph.D.   He describes a profoundly inspiring and expressive aesthetic, one I could bond with and accept from cultures were the art of writing, painting were venerated.  I wanted to make this my pages for Bea's RR.  

All this deep philosophical, searching  for the meaning of life is the antithisis of me Monica.  Whimsy and the celebration of life is more my "modus operandi"  and I have to really try to be serious.

 Since Wong described wabi sabi in terms of Chinese and Japanese language & culture I used Chinese brocade silk to cover the page, leaving the edges raw  then I inserted the black smaller pages.  (The bits sticking up are from other entries.  It is much harder to add  when the pages are already sewn together into a signature.  I thought of several different approaches but they would have added bulk and distorted the previous entries. I settled for a raw, simple look, no padding, no backing, quite a stretch for me.)

I printed the photo and the poem on silk and glued them in.  

The final entry.  The last page is covered with Japanese hand painted silk, from a kimono.   If you go to the Tim Wong page be sure to visit the pages displaying  Wong Nong Sumi-e Show.  the show ran June through July.  Wong's story and his art is awesome.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Mexico Travel Journal 2010

Santa Fe is my favorite US city to visit, round that off with a trip to Taos and I am in heaven.  Bliss.  Despite several visits i have never made a journal Usually my journals are created by gluing all the collected torn out images from free travel guides and assorted finds accumulated throughout the trip as well as a few photos to card stock loose pages.  Then a cover is made from covering book board or Peltex.  This trip I folded card stock in half, each was then a sort of signature.  It makes a slightly different book. This time I made the cover from paper cloth  after a visit to Freida Oxenham's blog (

This is the cover made of paper cloth.

Cover is fabric from my stash. and first page is glued maps and photo from travel brochure.  It really is how I see the road from the RV (when not beading!)

I painted the background on watercolor paper and added the images of sculptures found in Santa Fe.  I can always imagine early settlers walking across this vast space that i move so rapidly with my traveling home around me.   It is an endless stretch of shrub and rocks so hard to remember that for centuries travelers walked, no one settled for long as the elements never ease up.

Sumner Lake, a reservoire is now i recreation area.  HOT! DRY! On to Santa Fe founded 400 years ago my settlers who walked there.

My favorite farmers market.  It is now tarted up and very elegant in the rail road terminal area.  It is now surrounded by trendy art galleries and stores. We had breakfast there, yummy pastries and returned with produce to drool over.

Santa Fe is a foodies paradise, a mecca for eating and drinking.  the cuisine page is torn from travel guides.  i plan to experiment with some of the fabric paper techniques next time.

It was the weekend of a fiber arts show at El Rancho De Las Golondinas I saved all the information i collected within this hand dyed wool. 

Other ways to hold information and this is the art information I collected.

Canyon Road art information.  I also collect business cards so i can return.  beadwork was a fantastic bead and gift shop.  Norma Sharon made wearable art.

Off to Taos, weaving art, more art and food.

Ok that's not Chris playing golf he dropped me at Ledoux Street.  Then off to a few of my favorite places.  If you look very closely at the photo of me (well not at me0 the sign above was a reminder of my coming Sketchbook RR project Wabi Sabi.

A silk scrap makes a super pocket to hold more gathered information.  Not sure where this fabric came from, the date on it is 1993!
Each of the folded card stock 'signatures" was sewn into the cover.  This is a harder way to make a journal. Rings make it so much easier to add stuff to pages and even to add pages.  

I am now fired up for our next trip and my journal.

Fiber paper

For a long time i have dabbled  with making fiber paper and was never pleased with the results.  Visiting Frieda Oxenham's blog I saw she made fiber paper for many of her projects and reading back through her blogs saw she used a slightly different technique.  I thought the difference was she used watered down white glue rather than a Gel Medium.  So i tried it

i stamped a piece of muslin soaked it with the water glue mix then added torn pieces of New Mexico , covered it with torn lime white tissue and torn napkin.  then splashed some fabric paint around as I have lots of the translucent variety.  Since the temperature was around 95 outside and 80 in my fingers were drying and pulling up the tissue.  No time to ponder just get it done.  Unlike Frieda's, she lives in cold Scotland, it was dry in 40 minutes and really dry after 20 minutes in the sun.  The photo is after it dried and I had stitched Peltex on the back.

Here is the second one. Rather than stamping the muslin I stenciled it.  This time i used lime green tissue paper that I had written on words before tearing.  I like white tissue better.   This is a technique i intend to explore.  

Now have to get my battle gear on and put the cats into their boxes to go to the vet.  next post will show what i made.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bracelet in yellow

This is another Kate Mckinnon art cuff.  I added the vintage Bakelite buttons as I had no sequins I liked.  There is no way the bracelet will twist upside down as it is a tight fit.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Santa Fe & Taos trip

We left mid June for a week in New Mexico stopping en route at Sumner Lake
It is really a reservoir and  the water was much higher than on our last trip.  It is eastern NM where a high winds whip across the plateau and little but scrub grows.  It defies the imagination to think that the early inhabitants had to walk here.  The note on the ranger office said that this area was always tough and ancient people never stayed very long. 

This is the farmers market in Santa Fe on the railroad tracks.  They have renovated it.  It remains a great farmers market despite this though it seemed far more restrained than in the past where women were singing and dancing everywhere.
 On Saturdays they hold an artists' fair at the market in an area designed just for them.  I liked the landscape and the whole concept as it was very contemporary and few places can pull contemporary off.  Off course this is railroad property and they have deep pockets.

Our first stop in Santa Fe after setting up the RV was the bar at Ortiz on the plaza for a margarita then off to eat in Burros Alley at the Paris Bakery.  The wine, heat and altitude combined after this to wipe me out.  We attended an Art To Wear show at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas a living ranch set up like it was 400 years ago.  The docents were quite incredible.  I loved the Colcha embroideries and the way they displayed the weavings. Regrettably we forgot the camera. On Saturday night we wined and dined at Amavi, haute cuisine gets no better.  Women chef and a woman pastry chef.  All the food is fresh and local, even the cheese plate.

Two days later we headed to Taos.  At 8,000 ft is was cool at night and 95 in the day, unusual but it was a nationwide heatwave.  Together Chris and I visited the Blumenstein home and museum.  He and a mate were the artists that turned this place into an art colony in the 1900s.  Like Santa Fe, it is probably too expensive for most artists today as it is a very chi chi place. Chris golfed in the morning leaving me free to explore the boutiques and galleries.  This included a trip to Artemesia, a favorite art to wear shop, Uncommon Threads where they sell exquisite fabrics at a good price and a card shop that has The best cards.  In all of these shops the staff where charming and genuinely FRIENDLY just as they were in Santa Fe. 

The Blumenstein home.  The daughter put most of this together before she died.  She was an amazing woman.  I thought her mother a far superior painter than the father.  

 The Indian Market in Santa Fe where we returned to celebrate Chris's birthday.

We decided to have lunch at the Coyote Cafe tavern.  The food was incredible and the accolades are well deserved.  I have never tasted such wonderful SW cuisine before.  I also found at 137 Water St another wonderful Art to Wear shop, just opposite the Cafe.  The python jackets were to die for, unfortunately not in my budget. It was called Norma Sharon. And I did find Beadweaver at 503 Old Santa Fe trail.  They sold extraordinary beads and beadwork.   Again the women in the store were so kind and helpful.  Wish they were here in Kerrville!!!

I managed to return home with a sinus infection.  And the computer began to have problems turned out to be  line problems, fixed with a new wire and a man up the pole.