Posts Tagged ‘Ypsi’

because I can

If I’ve been remiss in blogging, it’s only because I’ve been blogging.  I’ve been helping Mark with Irreverent Vegan a lot lately.  There’s so much food-related stuff to do this time of year, what with putting the gardens to bed, buying up boatloads of tomatoes at the farmer’s market for canning, making pesto from end-of-season basil, etc.  Mark made swoon-worthy pesto and tomato pasta and baked green tomatoes last night.  Check out our action on that blog and let us know what you think.

So, some stuff has been happening on the art front as well.  Mark and I stretched this monster last week:

a big 'un

Though sadly it was a rainy day when we stretched it and the humidity affected it.  It was tight as a drum when I left the studio last Thursday.  When I returned to the studio, it was as wrinkly and saggy as all get-out.  Great sadness ensued.  For me.  Then after about ten minutes of moping, (and since I have a painting due for a show in December) I got my stuff together and started painting on a different canvas.  I altered my Photoshop mock-up to be suited for a vertical rather than a horizontal format and shazam! I’m back in business.  This painting involves big circles, for which I fashioned a very high-tech compass out of a brooch, some string and a sponge brush.  Macgyver,  eat your heart out.

I also co-curated an exhibition at EMU called Contemporary Painting, which I’m really happy with.  More on that later.

And, because our cats have been so dang photogenic lately, a bunch of cat photos.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

a handsome man


kitty unity

cat in a bag

complements please

peace out

With the hectic beginning of the school year, I am finding that I need certain elements in my life to keep me sane.  These are constants, but somehow I always forget about them in the chaos of life and keep discovering them when I need them most.  I need quiet time, space to think, space to make, and to remember that there’s a big beautiful world out there beyond the little ruts I dig in the ground on my daily routine.

Today, we had the pleasure of hosting good friends for brunch (tofu Mark-muffins, potato pancakes with cashew creme and apple sauce and peaches), then headed out to some hiking trails with them.  This time of year is blissful.  Before the hike, we found a strange and amazing house out in the middle of nowhere that happened to be for sale.  We walked around the grounds and checked out the old musty outbuilding:

old chair

We hiked at Cherry Hill Nature Preserve that Mark and Chad found on a recent bike ride.

Lauren, Chad and Mark on the trail


autumnal hike

Queen Anne

Studio time, reading, hot baths, tea and yoga have all been very restorative to me lately.  During the summer months, we can use the three-season room as a yoga studio.  It’s nice because it has tall ceilings, a skylight that looks up into our black locust tree and the cats like to be out there with us.

summer yoga studio

summer yoga studio

black locust skylight

But with the coming of the Michigan Winter (which deserves to be capitalized), I recently reclaimed the guest room as a space for us.  After all, guests are only here 3% of the time, so why have a room that is completely dedicated to people who don’t live here?  I have been  inspired for awhile by the yoga room created by the author of the blog Beauty That Moves:

So I decided to fold up the old futon (only to be unfolded when guests visit) and make the space into the winter yoga studio.  yoga 1

Yoga 2

yoga 3

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I am really drawn to sleek, white household items and natural accents.  So, the new studio reflects that.  There are plenty of candles, an old laptop that doesn’t work for much, but still plays music and videos, blankets, room for yoga books, dvds and blocks.  And it turns out that the folded up futon is actually a great place to relax with a book or take a nap.  I just need a lampshade and it will be complete!

i’m just doing this thing…

…to borrow a phrase from my friends Ryan and Vals’ blog, who in turn, borrowed it from our friend Jen’s mischievous nephew who uses the phrase to evade getting in trouble.  So, I am just doing this thing.  I kinda know what it is.  I know it has to do with art and that it’s due at the end of the month (yikes!).  I also know that this thing brought me to Home Depot, Michael’s, and the same hobby shop three times today, where each time, I had lovely chats about the hows and whatfors of model train building with some of the considerate and attentive members of the Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club.  Art causes me to wind up in the swellest of unexpected situations…

So, here is an image of “this thing” so far.  (And yes, I am being purposefully enigmatic to hopefully build suspense.  Of course if “this thing” flops, then I will feel a bit like a sheep, but c’est la vie, right?)

"this thing" so far


I was fortunate to guest blog about none other than… rings (of course!) on my friend Lauren’s blog Dear Golden.  She also has a top notch etsy shop by the same name through which she proffers vintage wares, and I am guilty of taking home a lot of the bounty.  I suppose I could have composed the same post for this blog, but I haven’t really written about fashion much here, and since her blog is geared toward it, specifically vintage fashion from all eras, we thought the guest blog would be a fun idea.

Lauren and I like a lot of the same kinds of vintage clothing, though her scope is much larger than mine.  Her tastes never fail to inspire me.

We have been thrifting buddies for awhile now.  I think the reason I like thifting so much is getting so much for so little.  Thifting allows one to find seemingly unique items, often in very good or excellent condition, for a low price.  I really like purchasing previously owned pieces that have a history, and in doing so, I am not encouraging the manufacture of new goods, or so I tell myself.  I know I am not alone in this practice (which, if you’re not careful can border on obsession).  And it’s not just clothing that I find in this way, but also house stuff.  We have a thoroughly thrifted house.  What isn’t thrifted is often from craigslist, garage sales, or antique stores.

Of course, buying from Dear Golden means that I am buying thrifted items, but it’s even better because I am getting hand-selected, often carefully mended clothing, about which Lauren knows the historical context.  And I’m supporting a friend too.  I model for her from time-to-time and am happy when she sends me home with “payment” in an especially cool skirt I modeled that day, or a pair of shoes.

tabula rasa

When I start a new body of work or major studio session, I like to clean house a bit.  This time I went a little nuts and put all of the old paintings away, took down old influence images and created a blank slate of a studio in which to work on the large island paintings.  At first it’s not very glamorous, just a bunch of canvas stretching and gessoing.  I will assuredly keep you apprised of my progress.

Oil studio 1

Oil studio 2

Oil studio 3

Oil studio 4

two outta three ain’t bad

Sorry to get a Meatloaf song stuck in your head.  But today I acquired some new stuff and it’s somehow all art related, so I thought I would share my successes and sorrows.  First here’s the stinker.  I ordered this paper from Canson in “indigo”

to make more island drawings and it’s not the right damn stuff.  It’s the wrong size and slightly the wrong color and there is a sticker annoyingly adhered to all 50 sheets.  But the kicker is that I can’t find the right paper anywhere online.  I guess that’s what happens when you pick up some single sheets of colored paper on a whim in Budapest–it’s ne’er to be found again–at least on this side of the Atlantic…or in cyberspace, for that matter, which I hear is a pretty big place.

But now for some good purchases.  I got this big blingy book that I had been drooling over for awhile and wanting since seeing the wonderful grotesque paintings in Italy:

Ornament and the Grotesque: Fantastical Decoration from Antiquity to Art Nouveau by Alessandra Zamperini.  Just flipping through it is exciting, as it’s full of huge color images.

And finally, a ride that can get me to the studio and school that is more casual and practical than my road bike plus it can carry stuff!  Meet Sackpak, my new Påké bicycle.  She’s my trusty steed and I don’t even have to sit side-saddle when I wear a skirt because she’s all girl-stylin.

Tomorrow is her maiden voyage.  I think the horse and ship metaphors mean that I had too much coffee today.

The best part is that I had a fantastic purchasing experience at Ypsilanti Cycles, who ordered the bike and had it delivered and assembled in a flash.  Shopping local is the best!

Shadow Art Fair Video

Shadow photo

This excellent fellow Mike Ambs condensed the entire 12-hours of Shadow Art Fair into a four minute video (for fun!) which really captures the day quite well.  Here’s the link to view it.

Indie in Ypsi: Shadow Art Fair (part 2: the people and the place!)

So, that last post would have gotten out of hand if I had included everything I want to write and show, so I decided to break it into two posts.  And now for part 2!  This year’s poster and t-shirt were designed  by the amazing and talented Melissa Dettloff (aka Mad Dog) who just happens to be my friend and studiomate.  The shirts and posters were printed by the ubiquitous VG Kids.

Mad Dog

She's clearly pleased her design was chosen.

Here’s a quick look around the fair: Shadow Art Fair in progress

head in the Corner

people shoppin

checkin out the wares

the mervelous Amelia and her new lavender-scented skunk friend

the mervelous Amelia and her new lavender-scented skunk friend

A couple of booths I’d like to feature:

Sarah Bradstreet, working it at the Broad Street booth

Sarah Bradstreet, working it at the Broad Street booth

the lovely Maria working the Swipple! booth

the lovely Maria working the Swipple! booth



Their booth debuted a sleek new design this year for maximum art viewing (and therefore purchasing).

And then there was the food!  This vegan was pleased as punch about Jennifer Albaum’s Chips and Cheeeze which rocked to a sold-out audience.  Thankfully, you can find the recipe over at her blog Scumpdilly.

Jennifer serving ups Chips and Cheeeze!  We had ours with lotso jalapenos...

Jennifer serving ups Chips and Cheeeze! We had ours with lotso jalapenos...

Mark Maynard was also signing people up for his Cycle Powered Cinema project.  Mark (my man) has volunteered to help out.  MM was posting to his blog live during  the SAF, which is pretty funny.  There’s even a bathroom video interview with Ryan Groendyk, one of the meisters in charge of the Shadow Brew which sadly got all drunk up before we made it back for our second visit for the day.  I hear it was pretty amazing and…”weird” (hey, that’s Ryan’s own description).

As twilight fell, Manhole rocked some Chuck E. Cheese-style limbo action outside under a glorious sky.

Manhole and beer drinkin


I hope you had fun!  (I know I did)

Indie in Ypsi: Shadow Art Fair (part 1: the loot!)

So like a carnival sweeping through town, the Shadow Art Fair descends on Ypsilanti, Michigan twice yearly.  The summer SAF in July always has an especially festive air, as there are longer daylight hours (as opposed to the December SAF) in which to enjoy it and the opportunity to spill into the Corner Brewery‘s outdoor beer garden after supporting local and regional craftsters, artists, and creative peoples.  So, of course “supporting” means buying up a bunch of stuff, and if one is going to “go consumer”, the SAF is the place to do it.  I go a little bit nuts each time I go, buying gifts for others, but mostly for our home…and for me.  I deserve it, right?  So, this post is about the spoils I plundered this time around and is an opportunity to give a shout-out to those artists who caught my eye long enough to catch me digging into my wallet.  Props to Mark for picking out cool stuff with me and being patient with my spendy self.Shadow SpoilsFrom left to right, the ceramic pieces of Christina DeAngleo are so lovely we bought four exquisite little shot glasses and one stein with a bug drawn onto it.  Never underestimate the importance of a large mug for holding lotsa steaming hot droughts come  the cold Michigan winter.  The earrings are handmade by the b-line, a jewelry designer who uses mostly polymer clay, but I snapped up these beaded little brassy bluebells.  The t-shirt is by Great Lakes Shirts.  Mark got one last year and this year, it was my turn.  Now I can pay tribute to the more watery parts of these northern mid-western states of ours.  The painting is by Jason Wright.  Mark and I have wanted one of his pieces for a long time now, and finally have brought one home.  Jason runs Swipple!, an online and often actual art exhibition space where he features artists from all over, but especially regional artists and sometimes outsider artists.  Jason also works closely with Michigan prisons.  He works to get the inmates’ artwork seen and has curated several successful exhibitions of prison art.

Whenever we bring home new stuff, the cats get into investigatory mode.  Ramona wanted to be sure that I feature a close-up of some of the stuffz:P1020198

P1020210Wobbly Bob doesn’t care about the stuff, he just likes the paper it’s wrapped in.  He favors hunkering down in a little nest of it.

After speaking to a bunch of people at our vegan brunch yesterday (more on that later), it was agreed that a highlight of the fair was the booth of Broad Street: “jewelry for the eco-fabulous.”  And man is it ever!  I bought an amazing chainmail neckercheif creation off the neck of some poor girl who was trying it on, but karmicly, another girl snatched a necklace out from under me a little later, so the universe is working as it should.  If you ever see Sarah Bradstreet selling her wares, be sure to snap up what you want early on, because it gets gone!  Here’s a photo of me modeling the first item I bought:P1020172

Two more sellers deserve some props.  Sally England of SED (Sally England Design) had a really eclectic booth with faux bois printed plush logs, felt Michael Jackson portraits and these amazing golden t-rexes, one of which had to come home and join the menagerie in the kitchen window box:

P1020298The other artist is is Lori Brown, who as Morninglori, makes up wonderful stories about imaginary beings and makes them come to life in her sculpted and plush creations.  We bought some as gifts, so I can only show the tippity tip of an ear so’s not to blow any surprises, but if you visit her etsy site, you’ll get the idea.

Morninglori!Now that we’ve indulged me by reveling in my post consumer bliss, next up: the people and place of the Shadow Art Fair.  I haven’t even mentioned the Chips and Cheeeze yet!