Monday, April 30, 2012

The Spark

It starts with a spark - all art, that is.
A thought, feeling, color combination, light pattern...
any of these may be the spark.
These sparks excite our imagination, make our hearts beat faster,
and start us on our creative journey.

For me, the spark may ignite a creative art quilt project
 that ends up 60" x 80" and hangs upon the wall, 
or an elaborate beadwork necklace that is months in the making, 
or a photo that I'm proud to put my watermark on.

I've been involved in art making long enough to know 
when I come in contact with that spark,
I grab it - then and there.

So, when I looked up from my morning coffee and peanut butter 
toast to see branch patterns splashed across our silk curtains, 
gleaming dust covered table, and illuminated dried daffodils - 
that I really should have thrown out - 
I grabbed my camera and tripod.
Who says that creative spark can't come before your morning coffee is finished 
and you're still in your PJs ?!

Hoping you seize that spark and have some wonderful, creative adventures.
See you again in a couple weeks.

with my favorite photo from March (the first).

Monday, April 16, 2012


 I've been reading Julia Margaret Cameron - Her Life and Photographic Work by Helmut Gernsheim,
and feeling very fortunate to be living in an era of digital cameras and photo editing software.

Julia used the wet collodion process. 
 Here's a glimpse of what this Victorian photographer went through to accomplish her work:
 "Mrs. Cameron had to balance a 15" x 12" glass plate between the thumb and
 first two fingers of one hand, while slowly pouring on collodion with the other;
 the plate had then to be tilted gently in all directions
 to make the collodion form an even coating. 
 The next step was to dip the plate into the silver nitrate sensitizing bath."

"The development had also to be effected by balancing the plate on one hand 
while quickly and evenly pouring the developing solution over it. 
 If no mishap occurred during fixing, rinsing, and drying, 
damage could still occur long after varnishing, 
which was necessary to protect the coating before positives could be printed on it. 
 The negative had to be warmed in front of a fire uniformly and
 "as hot as the hand will bear". 
 The varnish was poured on and drained off in the same way 
as the collodion and developing solutions."

"For printing the negatives, prepared albumenized paper could be bought,
 but it still had to be sensitized with silver chloride - hence the term "silver print." 
This and the printing and fixing of the positives were simple operations
compared with the making of the negative.
They were not developed but "printed out" by contact copying,
the frame holding negative and print being exposed to daylight for several hours,
during which the image slowly appeared.
After fixing and thorough washing, 
the prints were toned with gold chloride to give them a warm sepia tone
 and make them more permanent,
then finally rinsed."

"It has been a real labor," she wrote to Sir Edward Ryan,
 "for in all freezing weather I have poured nine cans of water fresh from the well 
over each photograph."
(Note - all excerpts are from Gernsheim's book)

Oh my, we have it easy!

On another note of good fortune, I found out that my elaborate beaded necklace, 
Tudor Splendor, has been juried into the Bead Dreams Competition.  
This exhibition will have pieces from all over the world in it. 
 Happy day!!!

Wishing you happiness and good fortune in all your creative endeavors.
See you again in a couple weeks.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Beads, Bling, and Bokeh

Today, I'm linking into The Photo-Heart Connection with my favorite photo from last month.
Here's the story ~
In May, I will be teaching a textile workshop at Asilomar in CA (more about that later in this post).
So, I took a number of project photos for the students -  the f/8 kind with every bead, 
painted foil shape, and stitch in sharp focus (not pictured).
Then, I made some photos using a wide aperture... just for fun, just for me.
In these images form seductively slips into an abstract reality;
 with color, bling, and bokeh dominating.
The first capture in this set is my favorite.

But, quite frankly, given the dreary, colorless landscape outside my door, 
I think that I'd like to crawl into any one of these photos...
set up camp, and soak up all the luscious color!!!

The workshop details - Link.
Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar, Pacific Grove, CA,
May 27 - June 1, 2012.
Workshop - Sumptuous Surface Design and Embellishment:
Come learn about foiling, bead embroidery, stamp-carving, paint stick rubbing, and 
creating dimensional bugs and dragonflies.
If you're looking for the perfect textile get-away,
ESS at Asilomar's "Refuge by the Sea" is the place to be!

Wishing you a colorful and creative week.
See you again in two weeks.