Saturday, February 28, 2009

kitchen nook

there was some nice light in my kitchen this morning as i was eating my pumpkin bread.

art inspiration: jeana sohn

los angelos artist jeana sohn creates paintings and art objects with intricate, delicate lines and satisfying geometric qualities. i am really excited to have discovered her work...

identity crisis

i have been thinking a lot lately. this is partly because i have been home sick in bed all week with nothing to do but think. and it is also because i'm in my last semester of my grad program and starting to look a what i will do when i finish.

ever since i started grad school i have been feeling detached from my artist-self. i have been spending all my time in classes, working at my internship, and writing my thesis. i am doing all this work to cultivate an identity as an art therapist, that i feel like i have sort of abandoned my ongoing development as an artist. like i had to trade in my artist identity in order to carve out the space for art therapist identity. its not that i have stopped making things - i haven't. i just feel like by throwing myself into art therapy i have given up in a way on ever really being an artist. sort of like a "those who can't do, teach" type of a thing. does that make sense? probably no. because i am not really making sense to myself either.

i know that in many ways it's not "realistic" to try to be an artist. but then i see all these people who do it somehow, and some who even manage to make it look easy. and i wonder, if i really put myself into it, could i make it work too? am i hiding behind this other thing because i'm too afraid of trying (and failing) at what i really want to do?

here i am in the gallery where i had my first solo show.

Friday, February 27, 2009

still sick

i'm home sick again today. it's another gray day in chicago, which makes for a major laziness when compounded with my feverish and lethargic state.

so in between naps i've been spending some quality time with my friends oprah and dr. phil (don't judge me), and otherwise accomplishing nothing. i had big plans to do laundry and/or clean the kitchen at some point today, but it isn't looking like it's going to happen. my bed is just too inviting. basically, i am a sickly bum.

interior design love

(images from various issues of domino magazine)

art inspiration: lace lovelies

look at these pretty lace and thread jewelry pieces i just came across. they are made by a local artist/crafter named sarah who runs a business called cursive design.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

antony will make you weep, maybe.

i recently enjoyed this article about the singer antony hegarty of antony and the johnsons. in addition to making his hauntingly lovely music, he is also now exploring the world of visual art (he currently has a show in london of his drawings -- example below).

you can hear the song he references (the live cover of beyonce's "crazy in love") here. but while you're at it, you should probably also really hear his cover of leonard cohen's "if it be your will", which is stunning and sad and beautiful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

printing with coffee grounds

this eco-friendly printer uses your old coffee grounds as ink (!), and uses zero electricity. it is among many nifty finalists in this year's greener gadgets design competition.

i'm excited to see this type of technology emerging...

secondly, i just really love the new york times arts & design section.
here is an article about the state of the contemporary art world during this economic crisis.

at home

today i stayed home sick from work. even though i feel really icky and my head is pounding, it's oddly nice to be at home during the middle of the day on a weekday. it feels like stolen time... and since it is stolen and since i am sick, i feel no pressure to use it wisely. therefore i am now going to re-read the final issue of domino and then nap forever.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

books: knitting for good

i recently bought the book "knitting for good: a guide to creating personal, social, and political change - stitch by stitch" and it arrived in the mail today (yeee!). i am not a talented enough knitter to pull off most of the projects, but i am feeling inspired to try and get better. and the book isn't really about the projects anyway; it's about how making things by hand is a statement, even if you may not think of it as such. It's about how creativity can make better your life and the lives of others. the book discusses the therapeutic aspects of knitting, knitting for personal expression, and the use of knitting as a political tool.

here is a review of the book that explains the content and purpose more in depth, and also touches on the idea of "craftivism" (craft + activism) a term coined by betsy.

forgive me

i remember listening to tracy chapman when i was in middle school, and how her songs broke my heart, and how much i loved that she could do that.

i've been lucky enough to see her play live a couple times. being in a room with her voice is like falling forever but not being scared.

Monday, February 23, 2009

found: nature presents

some collected pretties: magnolia tree seedpods, yellow daisy petals, broken seashells, sweetgum tree seedpod, milkweed pod, and barberry bush berries.

p.s. happy birthday gina :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

pep talk from ira glass

i like this ira glass clip on the process of making things, living up to your own expectations, and getting to where you want to be.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

zack commutes to work

i have to show you this project that my hilarious friend zack is doing "just because". here's the premise: "I have been challenged to commute to work in a different way every day for the entire month of February. I work at an elementary school that is a half block away from my apartment, making the challenge not un-possible. The rules are simple: I can go to work in any way I see fit, but I cannot use the same method more than once for the entire month. I am taking suggestions so don't hesitate to comment with your ideas. Here are some good ones to get you started: sledding, jumping rope, crab-walking, skiing, driving, car pooling, finding a bus that goes to my school and traveling to it so it can drop me off, etc."

any ideas to pass along? zack and i used to live together in college, so i can safely tell you that he is a total sucker for a challenge, and would surely be grateful for your creative suggestions.

also, i just read that apparently, you "only" need to earn $40,000 dollars a year to be happy (which i think is supposed to be a relief?).

Friday, February 20, 2009

art inspiration: lauren nassef

i am inspired by lauren nassef not just because she is so incredibly talented, but also because she makes a point to keep up her art practice by doing a drawing every single day. she has been doing this for a few years now and keeps a record of them on her website. below are a few of her daily-drawings that i especially liked.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


here is the first batch of scraps for art of connection:

the embroidered text is based on my interactions with my students at the elementary school where i intern. some are words directly spoken to me by children, while others are statements they have made to eachother. still others might include thoughts or realizations i've had either while working with the children or when reflecting on my work at a later time. i'm envisioning the scraps being displayed like a patchwork, with different colors and sizes of fabric scraps pinned directly to the wall of the gallery space in a cluster-like formation. i'm still deciding if i want to put backing on them and if i want to finish the edges.

art inspiration: concert posters

have you been to looking at all this graphic awesomeness makes me want to run off to a printmaking studio and make it my new home.

soft + sustainable = love

look at these beautiful quilts made out of recycled sweaters. who knew recycling could be so pretty and cozy and warm and colorful?

the one on the bottom of the stack and this orange one are my faves. they would be so cheery in the cold dark winter...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

come here

great song. great scene... one that stays with me.

(from before sunrise)

There's wind that blows in from the north.
And it says that loving takes this course.
Come here. Come here.
No I'm not impossible to touch I have never wanted you so much.
Come here. Come here.
Have I never laid down by your side.
Baby, let's forget about this pride.
Come here. Come here.
Well I'm in no hurry. Don't have to run away this time.
I know you're timid.
But it's gonna be all right this time.

art inspiration: agnes richter

in looking at embroidery artists lately, i was reminded of one of the most memorable pieces i saw when i visited the prinzhorn collection in heidelberg, germany last january: the beautiful and heartbreaking agnes richter jacket.

agnes richter, a patient in a mental asylum in austria in the 1890's, spent her days embroidering text on to the jacket of her hospital uniform in attempts to record her life story. agnes, who had been a seamstress before her incarceration, painstakingly embroidered onto every part of the surface, both inside and out, sometimes so intensively that the text was illegible.

i deeply connected with what i saw as her need to communicate something about herself, to use whatever was available to leave her mark in some way. beyond the emotional gravity of the text and story, the way she transformed something institutional into such an expression of herself is fascinating and inspiring.

because it is so delicate, the jacket is not always out on view. when i visited prinzhorn, it was being kept in an archival box in one the art storage areas. we were taken behind the scenes by the lovely thomas for a special viewing, which is when i took these photos.

more images from this trip are here, and more posts about art inspiration can be found here

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

in the spirit of positivity... are some of my photos that make winter seem like it's not so totally awful.

Monday, February 16, 2009

art inspiration: harrell fletcher

here is a link to an article i just read about the very interesting artist/activist harrell fletcher, who i will hopefully get to know more about when he returns to oxbow this summer as a visiting artist.

the thesis/softie situation

this is what i've been doing in attempts to avoid writing my thesis:

i survived writing my thesis lit review without having a breakdown. and that's good news, because all of my art therapy peers said the lit review would be the worst part. but it wasn't, for me, because it was kind of just like writing a research paper. it was reporting findings and summarizing past studies, and blah blah. the part i am stuck on is the results section. this is because i don't really know what my results are. which makes writing my results very hard.

the thing is, i think, that i got myself in over my head. i am writing about an art-based support group i have been leading for 6 months. it is an art therapy group for the siblings of children with special needs. i decided to start this group because there were lots of services in place for the kids with special needs, but no services for their siblings. and even though i don't have a special needs sibling, i do know what it's like to be a kid with a family member who is very sick. that is not the same thing, i know, and is actually a whole different story about how i maybe ended up doing art therapy in the first place, but my point is that i saw a need and it also fit with some things that i identified with and so it became my thesis.

anyway, i have been leading this group for many months, which means i have tons of notes and photos from every single week of the group (although i admit my diligent note-taking waned as time went on). this is a lot of information, and i am totally overwhelmed. i don't know how to organize it, or whether i should even try to include all the information. also, it feels like a "results" section should have actual data, and i don't know that i really have any of that. this whole thing feels mostly subjective, and i'm not used to making arguments based on subjectivity. at least not in papers.

in conclusion, i have been making a lot of little softie animals.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

going green

this afternoon i went to artworks to participate in "going green", an interactive fibers installation by rob mertens. the "audience" members were invited to knit and crochet directly on to the installation, expanding and changing it however they see fit. the only rule was that the yarn be a shade of green.

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