Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Art in Asheville: Part One

Over the weekend Hubs and I visited our dear friend Gail in Asheville, NC. Knowing how drawn we are to anything connected to art and music, Gail and her significant other, Ed, had mapped out a fascinating itinerary to introduce us to their city's cultural scene.

Our first stop was the Friday night drumming circle, held in a downtown Asheville park. Unlike many American cities whose central business districts are deserted after the sun goes down, Asheville turns into Party Central. On Friday night, it was Party Central on steroids as several hundred people crowded into a small ampitheater surrounded by enormous trees. There they -- and we -- thumped, bumped and writhed in unison to throbbing drumbeats produced on an amazing array of instruments from toy bongos to bodhrans.

Drumming is very primal. Drumming in company with a huge, amazingly diverse crowd of people you don't know is quite an experience. There were young couples cradling infants, toddlers perched on their parents' shoulders, suburban professionals, funky types in boho garb, high schoolers, college kids, senior citizens sporting hippie ponytails, black, white, Hispanic, Asian...just one great big happy crowd thoroughly intoxicated by the driving beat. (And more than a little weed, I suspect.) Peace, love and drums under the stars. No cover charge, no admission required. It was all free and open to everyone. What a city!!!

©2014 Lynn Edwards

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making Art Pendants: The Slow Way and the Fast Way

The Slow Way:

For the past several weeks I've been creating art pendants. Each one is a miniature, original mixed media collage made with my own hand painted papers and an occasional altered "found" paper or two. I use Stampbord (clay coated hardboard by Ampersand) for the substrate and the finest quality silver plated bails. I cut my papers into teeny little pieces, arrange them in a pleasing composition, then tweezer them into place and glue them down. Multiple coats of clear acrylic sealer and acrylic varnish follow.

An Original Art Collection pendant     ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Another Original Art pendant on a black silk necklace cord.   ©2014 Lynn Edwards

They're insanely labor intensive to make but I love making them anyway. So far I've created about two dozen of them in three sizes: 1x1 inch, 1x2 inches and 1 1/4x2 1/4 inches. You can now find some of these for sale in my new Etsy shop: http://www.playingwithcolors.etsy.com.

If you don't have the patience for a project like this, don't worry. There is a much faster, easier way to make an art pendant. Like this one:
The easy way pendant. It features a reproduction of one of my paintings. ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Its creation was pure serendipity. I was discarding some obsolete business cards featuring a photo of one of my older paintings. Just as I was about to drop them into the recycling bin, a light bulb went off in my head. Why not put the colorful images on them to use? I grabbed a scissors and started cutting. Coincidentally, the image on the cards was perfectly proportioned for a 1x2" Stampbord. No size adjustments needed.

After painting the Stampbord, I used soft gel medium to adhere the image and let it dry. Then I sealed and varnished it, letting each coat dry between applications. After waiting 24 hours I glued on a bail. Shazam! A sweet little pendant that assembled in the blink of an eye, so to speak. Not counting drying time it came together faster than it usually takes me to pry open a jar of gel medium. Love that!

Look for some of these pendants appearing in my Etsy shop in June.

If you don't happen to have a preprinted image you can use, there are other options. You could use copies of your favorite photos, or copyright free images in the public domain. (A search for "public domain images" will turn up thousands of possibilities. Just be sure to abide by any use restrictions that are posted.)

No Stampbord on hand? No problem. You can use Scrabble tiles or pre-cut wooden blanks sold in arts and crafts stores. Anything compatible with whatever glue you'll be using to adhere your artwork and bail is a potential candidate. So go for it. It's easy! And fun!

Text, pendant designs and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, May 18, 2014

"What we focus on determines how we'll feel. If you focus for a few minutes on the picture of a new, deadly virus leaping from a monkey to a man, crossing the ocean, slipping under your door, and climbing into bed with you, you can work yourself into a fine panic attack in no time at all." -- Eric Maisel, Ph.D., in Fearless Creating: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Completing Your Work of Art

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Introducing Original Art Domino Pendants!

Although I promised to post a photo of the studio's now-completed entry deck, rain interfered, making outdoor photography difficult. So I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at one of my recent projects: pendants I'm making from dominoes:

Neon brights just right for this summer's  fashion colors

Earthy browns, rust and metallic gold look great with wardrobe neutrals

A medley of colors and patterns that goes with just about everything

Each pendant features my own hand painted art papers, cut into tiny pieces and arranged on the domino to create a totally unique, original work of art. A silver plated tube bail adds contemporary style.

The dominoes I've used for these pendants are vintage game pieces. They're made of wood, not plastic, with an intricate carved design on the back. These pendants can be worn suspended from a silk cord necklace, a ribbon, or a chain. They're a one-of-a-kind accessory that's both fun to wear and guaranteed to add artistic flair to any outfit! They'll be available starting next week in my Etsy shop, PlayingWithColors.

Pendant designs, text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Check out Art-tiques!

A new showroom for art, gifts and antiques is now open in Marietta! The owners of Art-tiques are focusing on carrying work by local artists, so there's an interesting mix of fine art, jewelry, gift items, home decor, and other items in this spacious, gallery-like venue.

Art-tiques is easily accessible, located a block or so west of Interstate 75 at the intersection of the South Loop and Wylie Road. The entrance is on the side of the building facing the South Loop, with plenty of free parking.

Several artist friends of mine have work for sale at Art-tiques. They include beautiful abstract paintings by my longtime friend and painting buddy Kathy Woodworth; jewel-tone wraps, shrugs and fashion accessories
by fiber artist and former studio mate Dinah Rose; and scenes of everyday life and wildlife portraits painted by fellow art group member Karen Snider. I've featured some of their works below. You'll see many more, and have a grand time browsing, if you stop by Art-tiques!

"Family"        ©2014 Karen Snider

"Keta and the Orchid"      ©2014 Karen Snider

"Fun in the Sun"   ©2014 Kathy Woodworth

"The Keyhole"   ©2014 Kathy Woodworth

Bracelets by Dinah Rose   ©2014 Dinah Rose

Text ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, May 11, 2014

"There is a river that runs through our soul. It begins as a gleam in one's eye, a drop of rain, a bubbling spring of hope. It pours across the earth as adolescent streams of whimsy, growing and enlarging, reaching out to soil, root, rock, leaf -- reaching out for friends, companionship, trust. Broadening its play, it molds and moves onward blindly in search of the Divine. Over waterfalls, into pools, rushing, pausing, reflecting, ceaselessly dancing with life..." -- Christopher Forrest McDowell and Tricia Clark-McDowell in The Sanctuary Garden: Creating a Place of Refuge in Your Yard or Garden

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Studio Gets a New Entry Deck

Yay! The studio is getting a lovely new entry deck! The original steps, just a few feet wide with no landing, were only temporary. Their narrow width and lack of a landing made entering or exiting the studio a bit tricky. When we added the storm door the steps became even more difficult to navigate. The new entry deck solves that problem.

It's 6x6 feet, giving me plenty of room to navigate without fear of falling. It's big enough to add pots of flowers, maybe even a chair -- how cool! But aesthetics aside, safety was the biggest issue and I'm so happy to have that resolved.

Right now the deck is completed but the six foot wide stairs need to be installed. That's scheduled to take place a couple of days from now. When it's finished I'll post pictures. Our contractor, Richard Morris and his son, Tristan, of Decks Unlimited are doing a fantastic job. They've built a structure that's solid as a rock and crafted with great care and skill. Good craftsmanship on any scale, large or small, is something I really appreciate. And boy oh boy, do I appreciate this wonderful new addition to my studio!

©2014 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, May 4, 2014

"The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger is as good as dead." -- Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Where's Walter?

Part of the enjoyment I get from my environment comes from the creatures I share it with. One of them, a big rabbit I've dubbed "Walter," has been a fixture around the studio for quite a while. At first Walter would dash off into the woods the minute he spotted me approaching, but after a while he must have realized I'm no threat. Eventually, instead of fleeing, he'd calmly go about meal-gathering on the lawn, remaining just a few feet away when I entered or departed the studio.

Over time, I discovered Walter liked being talked to. He seemed to enjoy hearing a human's voice so I'd speak softly to him, watching his big ears waggle back and forth. This became an almost daily ritual: he'd pause, watch me and listen as I'd unlock the studio door, addressing him all the while in "rabbit-babble."

I had become really fond of the little guy, so when he abruptly disappeared recently I was worried. There's no shortage of predators around here, namely coyotes. The woods surrounding us are full of them.

Several days went by with no sign of Walter. Hoping to see him every time I looked out the window, I became more and more convinced he had met his demise. The den he had made for himself out behind the garden shed remained empty and took on an abandoned look. I was heartsick.

This past Tuesday was a rough day. Tornadoes, torrential rain and high winds toppling trees had me feeling frazzled and uneasy. I was cranky and overtired from spending the previous night on storm vigil as our area was pounded by violent weather. When a lull in the downpour gave me a chance to make a run for the studio without drowning, I grabbed my keys and headed out.

There in the soggy gloom was Walter! I was so happy to see him I almost shouted. Instead, I kept my voice soft and low as I greeted him and told him I'd missed him. He remained perfectly still, nose twitching, those oversized ears trained in my direction, listening intently. Clearly he was alive and well. Had he been off visiting a lady friend? Had he been away on vacation? We'll never know. All I knew was that it was a big relief to have him back. He may be just a rabbit, but Walter has become something of a pet.

The storms have passed, the weather is beautiful. The sun is shining, the birds are singing. I look out the window to see Walter hopping about in the dandelions. The sight of him makes me smile. In this tiny corner of the universe, for now, anyway, all is right with the world.

Text and image ©2014 Lynn Edwards