Saturday, October 31, 2009

lacy maple leaves

Inspired by fall, I decided to try some things out with the burgundy lacy maple leaves in my yard. I planted the tree about 3 years ago, when the winter storms took out 2 apple trees and left a big hole in the sunny back part. This year, the tree is big enough, and has enough branches and leaves, that I didn't feel guilty cutting some off before they fell.

I clipped a small branch so that I got several leaves because I wanted to try and get some depth and layering of the leaves. Some went into glycerin, and in a few days, I'll see how well that works for saving them for me to play with throughout the winter. Here's a black&white scan done on my epson cx3810. I liked the shading I got. I had to play with the settings to get it to show at all. This was annoying since the b&w copy came out great. Not sure why the difference. I suspect I have a lot to learn about how my scanner works and how to manipulate it.

Here's the same layout on the scanner in color. It looked much better on the screen when I was scanning it because the horizontal lines didn't show there.

And here's a photo I took, using macro lens, sidelit by the table light I use while sewing. I taped the leaves to the top of the lid on the printer because of the white background in the lid. I'll be manipulating this in photoshop, and seeing how many different things I can do with it. I particularly like the shadow behind the leaves from the side lighting.

I love these leaves, and I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to capture the contrast between them and the gray rainy fall days when the burgundy pops out at us even with the other fall colors. There's been a piece, or more than one actually, brewing for years. I think this might be the year they happen. More pictures later, as things mature.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 performance art

I'm on the mailing list for, and in fact, James was planning for us to do something, but the flu intervened. However, I urge anyone who likes pictures of everyday people acting from their heart to check it out. Whether you view it as necessary political activism or performance art, it's an amazing collection of pictures. Go to and be amazed! (Note for those who've missed a story about it - organized a day of doing things, art, actions that could be photographed to get the number 350 into public awareness, as it's the number climate scientists say we need to cap carbon at. )

I particularly like the one about the kayakers in the Williamette River, but then that's local as far as I'm concerned, and I canoe so I know how hard it is to hold them in place on a river. To see this photo, and the story about it, go here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fiber Arts Certificate Program, Exercise #1

I've started in the Fiber Arts Certificate Program at the University of WashingtonExtension, and we've had a couple of interesting exercises assigned. My daughter wants to see what I'm doing, and posting here to the blog is an easy way to share.

The first quarter focuses on examining materials to develop a visual vocabulary, and establishing a studio practice. She's having us work with materials other than fiber, so that's an interesting departure that's causing me to examine why I prefer fiber. And the connotations of the materials themselves. All food for thought.

The first exercise was based on small group discussions about fiber and our goals, and what stereotypes we have run into. We were supposed to pick a material from around the house that would refute a particular stereotype and do a material study with it. I picked steel wool as not being warm & cuddly, and also not something you would wear on your head. I went past a study with it, because the idea of Barbie in her outfit just tickled me, and I wanted to work small as the steel wool (0000, Super Fine) is not fun to handle. I think she turned out pretty cute.

This one above is the closer in shot, with her posed on the fabric I used for lining & stabilizing the stole and hat. The next one shows the hat from above, so the roll of steel wool is obvious.

It was an interesting exercise, and a lot of fun to see what the other 20some people in the class did.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Buying solar for your house, CA plan goes national

While I struggle my way back to posting pretty pictures of what art I'm doing, I post this for your edification and amusement. I think I posted last year while on vacation about the California plan to allow people to buy solar panels by borrowing from the government and pay it back as part of the property taxes. Looks like there's a good chance that will be happening at a national level, presumably via encouraging states to do the same programs as California. Since we can sell excess power back to the power company, this seems like a fabulous idea to me. Read about it here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interesting economic thoughts, resiliency & tough times

Here's a link to an article about being resilient in hard economic times where there are big changes happening. The author writes articles & a book on global terrorism, and his views tend toward the dark, but this is a list of what to do to protect yourself and your community via entrepreneurship. I think it crosses lots of political boundaries and might appeal to many. Read the whole thing here.