Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Regency Era Fan

I haven't been able to do much sewing lately, what with all of the Holiday festivities and such.  I just started on my sleeveless chemise, and then will be moving on to my sleeveless petticoat.  Nothing too exciting, but when I'm finished with those, I will post pictures so that you can see the outcome.

High school musical season has started, and if I haven't mentioned this before, I'm the costume director.  This year's musical is Seussical, which means that, thankfully, I won't have to do too much sewing, but I have been scouring thrift stores around town for wacky and colorful ensembles.  We aren't taking a literal approach, so rather than big furry Sneetch suits, etc, we are going with things like, yellow, vintage inspired Whos and the jungle animals will be more "urban jungle" than anything.  Big hair is unavoidable though.  Expect pictures in a couple of months.

One thing I don't think I've mentioned yet is that I've been asked by JASNA Louisville to teach a fan painting workshop at next summer's Jane Austen Festival.  I'm thrilled about this, and have been researching fans.  If you have tons of extra time to waste, browse The British Museum's web site for late 18th century, early 19th century fans.  You won't be disappointed. 

A little over a year ago, I painted THIS FAN. I plan on using it as an example during the workshop, but was asked to create one that is more simply done up, in case someone might not feel up to such a challenge. 

So, today I sat down and using examples from The British Museum I came up with this.  Fun, colorful, simply done, but still very Regency-esq.  I hope it isn't intimidating.  What do you think?  Could a novice make a fan like this, or is it still too complicated?  It seemed easy to me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Enjoy this video of Jane singing with her classmates (she's the shortest one in front center).  I hope your holidays are filled with peace and love.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sea Glass Candy

A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon this recipe for Sea Glass Candy, and it looked so pretty I had to give it a try.  It really is gorgeous looking candy, and delicious too.  I used peppermint oil to flavor one batch, and rose water to flavor another. I thought I would share the recipe with you, because...well...just because.  Who wouldn't want to to give this a try?  What a fun treat to cook up! And it's so easy to take with you when traveling to visit family this holiday season.  Now...if only Jane and I can keep our hands out of it until we get there.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nostalgic for Art

As many of you know, I teach art to 4th - 6th graders.  In the 10 years I've been teaching art, I've gradually produced less and less of my own art work. (I'm certain being a mom for the past 5 years hasn't helped either.) Sure, you could call costuming an art, and I've done plenty of that in the last 4 years (is it really 4 years??...almost)  But...I've done very little, if any, fine art. 

For some odd reason, being on Christmas break has made me nostalgic for the those days in college when I would get so wrapped up in the my studio work, that I would forget to eat.  I would wonder into the photography dark room (yes, dark room...we were on the front edge of the digital age back then), the printmaking shop, or the drawing and painting studio, and spend hours submerged in my work...etching, sketching, painting, sculpting, studying models and still life set ups...I breathed light and shadow, texture and shape...I breathed the beauty of my subjects, and the clouds and hills around me when I would photograph outdoors.  I would completely lose track of time, and have to race back to the dorm just in time for curfew (and yes, I went to a college that had a curfew.)  I loved coming back to my room smelling of linseed oil or turpentine, permanently having charcoal under my fingernails, or having to peel off my jeans because they were saturated with clay.

Today I dug into some of my old portfolios, reminiscing.  And I thought, in an effort to revive my fine arts muse, I would share some of my old work with you.  Maybe it will inspire me to crack open some old paint and dust off my graphite pencils.  I don't have access to a dark room, or a printmaking studio anymore...but I do have canvases, lines, color, light, hands, and most importantly my imagination.  I'm not the best artist who ever lived, but I've always enjoyed creating, and I'm thankful for my gift.

Let's start with senior year of high school, shall we... (Feel free to laugh at this one! I threw it in to lighten up the mood.)

Circa 1998...and my obsession then, "Titanic," of course...and Leo DiCaprio.

Circa 1999...Off to college I went, where I learned to find beauty in the every day things, (celebrities not included).  These are just some sketchbook drawings.  Most of the stuff I did in my classes were life sized renderings.

Circa 2000...I also learned to loosen up, and draw from life, not just pictures.

Circa 2001...I went to Italy and gained an appreciation for the intricacies of the European masters.

Circa 2002...I dove head first into printmaking that year.(We were supposed to be illustrating a book here, and I chose "Lord of the Rings."  Nerd alert...I know.)

That same year, I combined printmaking with my photography.  Seriously, that year was the most fun I ever had making art.  (So sorry I don't have a better representation of my photography.  As I said before, nothing was digital, and I didn't really feel like pulling out all of my old negatives, and photography portfolios today...I'll save that for another day.  "Oh, please, no! Don't!" you say...ok, I won't.)

Circa 2003/ college...oil paint and collage piece inspired by mythology and the period of art known as Symbolism...this is really a horrible piece of art I think, but I thought I would include it, because it is so insane.  I really went through an intense, almost grieving period after college, because a lot of my close friends had moved away, and I felt like I had lost part of my family.  My artwork during that stage reflects this I suppose.

This one is my most recent artwork (not including random sketches not really worth showing.)  It is a pastel work, completed about 3 and a half years ago...right around the time I started costuming...and, well, I've been at that ever since. 

That's all I've got for now (there are bins and bins of stuff in my garage, and well, I don't want to bore you to death.)  I really just posted all of this for myself, so I won't be offended if you think I stink as an artist.  Truly I won't (just don't tell me, ha!)  Costuming is grand, like sculpting with fabric, but there's just something missing from it that I can't quite put my finger on.  I've been a bit emotional about all of this today(probably not the best time to post something...will I regret this?)  Thinking back on things does that to you I guess.  I suppose I'm missing the whole experience, not just the act of creating art.  *sigh*  ...good times...good friends...great memories.


"One should be an enigma not just to others but to oneself too.  I study myself.  When I'm tired of that I light a cigar to pass the time, and think:  God only knows what the good LORD really meant with me, or what He meant to make of me."  ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A New Perspective

Also titled...What happens when you give your camera to a 4 year old.

Personally, (and I might be partial here) I think her composition is pretty good.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Modern Day Cravat

I've been told that this video has been around for some time now, but recently a friend brought it to my attention.  I adore it....such fun, and perfect for the current scarf wearing weather.  It put me in mind though, of a modern day, female version of this cravat tying poster.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's the Holiday Season

Well...'tis the season of busy days and nights.  I can barely spare a moment to write much on my blog, so I apologize for my absence.  We are busy with Christmas programs and Christmas parties.  I also made another capote bonnet recently, and was actually paid to make it.  Ridiculous really, because it's so much fun to make. 

Jane and I decorated the Christmas tree today.  I know...a little 'late' in the game according to the new American tradition of putting up your Christmas decorations before Halloween is finished.  One holiday at a time, people...please.  We are "real" tree people, nothing fake for us.  I love the smell of pine during the holidays.

Also, I think I've made my decision as far as what I'm going to do with my new blue fabric. It was a tough choice for me. 

I reeeaaalllly loved the 1796 gown (first one on the list).  And I was sorely tempted...but I've done late 1790's before, and am itching to try something a little different. 

So, I've decided on a combination of things.  First, I'm going to make a Habit Shirt (what I was calling a sleeved chemisette), like the one in the above picture from 1801.

Then, I'm going to make a sleeveless gown like the one from 1803.  I think the Habit Shirt will look fantastic under it for a day dress.  If I choose to, I can later attach on some fancy sleeves, and dress it up for a ball.  Or, I could make a cute little spencer to wear over it.  I'm just really attracted to the little lacy/frilly detail along the neck-line.  And the veil is fun too...

In other news, I will soon be up to my ears with costumes for my school's high school musical.  This year's musical is Seussical.  So...lot's of color it will be.  Thankfully, I'm not going to have to make everything, as most outfits can be bought at thrift shops, vintage stores, etc.  But it does require a lot of planning.  So, from January to March, I will be one busy woman.  I will try my hardest not to neglect all of you.  Thanks for caring enough to read my blog.  I really do appreciate it more than I can say!