Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding the Worm! (Part 2 of 2)

I've had an eyeworm for five years.  Until yesterday.  OK, I am not talking about a real parasite, but rather an image I could not identify, nor could I get it out of my mind's eye.   Like an unidentified earworm for the eyes.

It was this piece of art.  Google image search did not help me with this one.  It was actually through searching a digitized collection from the University of Iowa Libraries which helped me find and identify the print (Cena) and the maker (Mauricio Lasanksy).   Museum and library digital collections are really starting to pop up.   The Metropolitan Museum's online collection is awesome.  We can count on these resources to be accurate, although in lesser known museum collections, the image quality or size is not always great.  When I came across the University of Iowa Libraries' digital collection of over 450,000 items.  My heart quickened because I knew I was close to hunting down the worm (I had seen the print there when I visited in 2007).

For a virtual tour of major museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, check out Google Art Project.  Although not a substitute for the real thing, it's pretty exciting to visit (or re-visit) a virtual museum and get a zoom up view of works without having to leave your house (or change out of your comfy-pants).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finding the Worm! (Part 1 of 2)

I once had only the synthesizer opening to this song stuck in my head for a couple of years, but I couldn't figure out what song it was.  Every chance I would get, I would hum the tune to anyone willing to see if they could help me.  It was hopeless.  Until one night in my basement ceramics studio I played an old INXS cd and *voila* mystery solved.  Dream on white boy.

Side note: Radiolab has a fascinating episode devoted to the phenomena of earworms.  Definitely worth the listen.  From wikipedia:  Earworm . . . is a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one's mind, put colloquially as "music being stuck in one's head."

Did you know that through the Google Chrome browser, you can search by image instead of words?  I gave it a whirl with an image of one of my nutstash jars and the search engine returned accurate information, as well as other visually similar (color scheme, composition) images.  I can see a lot of potential here for designers, researchers, spies, and otherwise curious folks.  

a screen shot from the results of my image search in Google Chrome
I imagine it will only be a matter of time before we can search by musical snippet.  Finding the worm will be easy--getting rid of it will still be problematic.

What about a search by smell?  Ripe with possibility.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More is better

elevating used soap to a status of beauty
glass insulators
I moved to Gatlinburg five months ago.  I guess that's long enough for me to forget what a pain in the ass moving is.  Case in point:  I just bought a book.  After giving away half of my book collection and moving only with my "special specials", I thought that it would be a really long time before I started acquiring books again.  Guess not.  That being said, I'm really excited to tell you about my newest purchase, In Flagrante Collecto: Caught in the Act of Collecting.  I first poured over this coffee-table-style collection of beautiful images at the West Palm Beach public library, jotting down notes in my sketchbook all the while.  I recently spotted it at a reduced price (used) through   I was especially drawn to the remarkable grouping of used soap chips and glass insulators.  Oh the beauty of common things.  The gorgeous photos in the book really do prove that it's all in the display.  And more is better.  Except when it comes to moving boxes of books.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Amuse Bouche

I gotta start reading the NYT Dining and Wine section.  Regularly.

Either that or visit fancy restaurants.

There really is no excuse for anyone who calls herself a potter or tableware designer to not know the term amuse bouche.

It wasn't until polymer artist Judy Belcher picked up one of my hand-sized oval dishes and exlaimed, "This would be perfect for amuse bouche"  Immediately, I liked the sound of that.

Pronounced (uh-MYUZ-boosh), the french word means: mouth amuser.   Serving sizes are small and chefs often showcase their creativity with the dish.

However, you probably are living on this planet and you already know that.

Embarrassment aside, I'm inspired.  Thank you Judy for the vocab lesson.  I'm off to make some spoon-sized bowls.

Amuse bouche spoons

Thursday, November 3, 2011

50 Watt Love

My new favorite blog is 50 Watts.  Warning:  it surely will cause WWILF? syndrome (what was I looking for).  But it doesn't matter, because it is best to visit 50 Watts with no agenda.   You will find lots of goodies by just poking around.
From "Fledgling", a Serbian Sesame Street
I have been obsessed with children's book illustration, especially the surreal psychedelic folk style of books from my childhood.  50 Watts' children's book section is ripe with this stuff.  And that makes me happy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The journey from pen to kiln

I have been filling up pages in my sketchbook like a squirrel on speed lately.  I am growing ideas for my next body of work through a three-phased process I will describe as:

phase 1: stream-of-consciousness illustration
  I indulge in whatever imagery flows from pen to page.  Like seeing imagery in the clouds, I have several strategies to generate images. Characters or patterns might evolve from scribbles.  Often, these drawings will be incomplete.  Occasionally I will force myself to finish the sentence in order to see how the character or pattern can be resolved on the page.

Phase 1 images

phase 2:  research
   Through responding to my phase 1 drawings, I find connections between the drawings.  Using the dictionary or thesaurus, books, internet (wikipedia, blogs, vimeo, netflix), and even real life experiences (what??!), I focus in on one or two themes that tie the drawings together.  Usually the soil of my brain is very fertile in this phase and lots of ideas sprout.

phase 3: sketchbook to clay
   I revisit the sketchbook and draw more detailed illustrations, incorporating the characters I developed in phase 1 into narratives or scenarios that evolved during phase 2.  I usually come up with a few ideas that seem like they would transfer nicely into specific ceramic forms.

I do have to mention that the phases to not always follow such a strict linear progression.  I usually bounce somewhat between the phases.  Often, I will try out some drawings on cups before I know exactly what my narrative is.  I never thought I would be so strategic with my art-making!  (Thank you graduate school).  I am pretty comfortable with the process at this point in my creative life as it keeps my mind and my pen very busy.  

What processes do you use in your artistic practice?