Miz Shoes

You’ve Got to Be Cruel to Be Kind

Yeah. I’m hip deep in my studio, wading through PIGS (Projects in Garbage Sacks), UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) and just regular piles trying to wrestle it into shape so that I can work. I have two major projects in the works: a tallis for my niece (in pink and green and purple, of course), and a pair of throws out of the SisterGirlFriendGirl’s daddy’s ties. I am cursing the silk and yearning for the nice, lumpy, forgiving mess that is felting. I’ve uncovered a couple of things that I think I’m going to fix and finish, in between the real projects.

At some point today or tomorrow, I’ll be posting pics. Not of the workroom, of course, because pictures of my work space in the messy stage is enough to make the sweet baby Jesus drink gin from the cat dish.

Miz Shoes

Misty Mountain

Day two at Arrowmont. It snowed off and on all day yesterday. Big fat, feathery flakes that didn’t stick. Except for about half an hour. Yesterday I made balls and disks and beads and tablet shapes and a cube. Today we learn how to merge elements and incorporate found (or otherwise acquired) objects in our felt objects. Here’s my work station, and a shot of the snow.




Miz Shoes

Fire on the Mountain

I’m waiting for the cafeteria to open here at Arrowmont. It’s the first day of my fiber/felting/ornament class. Whee. This is the strangest place. The school is across the street from the carnival of the vanities known as Gatlinburg. There’s a Hard Rock Cafe and Dollywood and Elvis impersonators. This whole place is like cheezy Amurikana Vegas on some pretty bad acid. Then, on this side of the street is an Arts & Crafts movement colony. I’m never crossing the street.

Ah, I smell coffee and bacon. Life has just gotten better.

Miz Shoes

It’s A New Dawn It’s A New Day

Well shut my mouf and stuff it with hush puppies. My purple boxes quilt has shown up today on the front page of Etsy as a hand-picked favorite.

And yesterday I went to temple and said kadish and heard the shofar and said my prayers and didn’t cry. In fact, it made me feel good to be back at services and I realized how much I miss the community of my temple. Next week is Kol Nidre, and I can’t wait.

I believe that this is going to be a good year.

Miz Shoes

T-Shirts, Get Your Red Hot T-Shirts

The first line of Girlyshoes t-shirts is now for sale at my Cafe Press shop. The earlier version of the “I’d Rather Be Widowed” shirt was recalled, and all my shirts are now 100% image-free. Slogan shirts with the best snark from yours truly. Do you wonder about people’s taste level? Let them know with the “Got Taste?” shirt. Tired of hearing those random cell phone conversations? We have the shirt for that, too.

The Girlyshoes T-shirt Shop

And by the way, The Insufferable Mr. Pimple took my e-mail to the Human Resources office to complain about me. They told him it wasn’t an HR issue, and if he had a problem to talk to me directly. That’s three for three: his boss, my boss and the employee rights person. Has he spoken to me? No.

Miz Shoes

It Goes On and On and On and On

I spent the day so far searching in my files for more pictures, scanning pictures, cropping and editing pictures and finally, uploading pictures. There are lots more quilts and a knit bag over there in the Tante Leah section.

This is how it works: from the Tante Leah home page, linked over there on the right, the photos become only the Tante Leah photos. They are divided by category into Quilts, Knits, Tallitsim, and Beading. Clicking on the home page link from any Tante Leah page will take you to the Tante Leah home page. There are overview pages about the quilts, etc.

Happy browsing.

Miz Shoes

The Endeavor Begins

Having gotten Tante Leah's Handmades on the web, and having printed up some business cards, today I went to the store where I buy all my high-end silks, and asked to put up a sample and my cards.

The proprietor said yes. Now all I have to do is hope that the commissions start to roll in.

In the meantime, the two I have in hand are sitting on my sewing table. Tomorrow I plan to start cutting and sewing.

I'm excited. This could be the start of something big. It is certainly the start of something new. I've always wanted to be "just an artist" and not a corporate hack, and I'm stepping out on that path.

Wish me luck.
The RLA did a street show this past weekend. It wasn't on a street, though, it was in a garden. Specifically, Pinecrest Gardens, or, as it was formerly known, Parrot Jungle. The parrots are gone, as are the flamingos and cockatiels, but the giant feral iguanas are thriving. It is mating season for iguanas, because they were turning bright orange. Nothing like a six-foot long bright orange lizard to make your day. No, I do not have photos. Please.
The RLA sold three pieces of work, to R&MJ, which we could have done without the additional cost of a booth fee. The hottest seller at this show was Cuban art. Each artist was more Cubanisimo than the next. We were between a woman who painted very vividly colored canvases of Cuban coffee makers and conga drums, and a man who painted Cuban markets and cigar-rollers' houses.

Mostly they weren't selling their original paintings, though, they were selling prints of their paintings. Not just any prints, mind you, they were selling Giclees. I kept hearing the patter, as one or the other explained to their buyers that Giclees are like modern lithographs, or serigraphs.

For the sake of clarity, I'd like to give you dictionary definitions of those three terms.

Serigraph: Silk-screening, which is also referred to as serigraphy or screen printing, is a centuries-old process that originated in China, It is, in essence, a refined version of a hand stenciled process. The image is divided, as it were, by a color, with a screen corresponding to each shade of ink that will appear on the final surface-paper, canvas, fabric, etc. The ink is applied to a screen, transferring to the paper only through the porous segments. A separate screen must be created for each color. On average, it takes between 80 to 100 screens to create a serigraph. The elements are hand-drawn onto mylar and photographically exposed onto each screen. Inks are matched to the hues of the original and custom mixed. Each edition takes approximately eight weeks to complete: four to five people handle the several stages of the process, and 80 to 90 percent of the production time is devoted to making color separations and the screens.

Lithograph: The process of printing from a small stone or metal plate on which the image to be printed is ink-receptive and the blank area is ink repellent. The artist, or other print maker under the artist's supervision, then covers the plate with a sheet of paper and runs both through a press under light pressure. The resultant "original print" is of considerably greater intrinsic worth than the commercially reproduced poster which is mechanically printed on an offset press. Color Lithography or Chromolithography is the process of using several stones or plates (usually one for each color). The result is a color lithograph, which differs from a print which is hand-colored after printing.

Giclee: A computerized reproduction technique in which prints are created using a very high quality inkjet printer. The word Giclee itself is French, and means spurt or squirt, however the spray is more like a mist, each droplet being the size of a red blood cell. The inks come in various grades of water-based dyes. It is very important to use UV glass with these prints, because being printed with dyes, which historically are not very colorfast, they can fade quickly.

Do you see the difference? Lithography and Serigraphy are both hands-on, labor-intensive techniques requiring time and skill. Giclees are INK JET PRINTS people. INK JET PRINTS!! Like, from that $99 Epson printer on your desk. And most of these guys don't even use archival inks or paper, which means that that reproduction you just shelled out $250 for is going to degrade and fade.

Unlike, say, the $90 original, hand-drawn, ink on paper that the RLA did and had framed in a museum-quality frame which you did NOT buy.

I started getting a little snippy about it by the afternoon of day two, telling prospective buyers that everything in the booth was an original, never reproduced, no Giclees, and once it was bought, it was the only one of its kind, period.

Nobody got it.

There was one guy who came in to the booth, and just raved about the RLA's work. He spent a lot of time looking. Then he went next door and bought a painting of a conga and another of a cup of Cuban coffee.
Miz Shoes

Things to do Today

1. Take 15 year old cat to the vet for follow-up (possible feline leukemia)
2. Random errands: grocery store, bank, tobacco store, drug store
3. Pick up "Masked and Anonymous" at the DVD store
3. Try not to think about cat
4. Prep for the RLA's show

This time tomorrow we'll be out in the street, hawking art. Working as an artist is dancing the tightrope of constant rejection. I'd say that is particularly true of the RLA's work, which has gone in this past year, from photo-realism to a surreal jazzy sort of dreamscape. Will the audience be able to relate to it? Will the audience buy it? Is it too far removed from the literal to be accepted by the crowds at a street show? Will it sell?
I don't think that any of that matters to the RLA. He is true to his art and his vision, in what ever direction it takes him. Sell or not sell, it doesn't have any influence in how he wields his brush. It's one of the things I love the most about him.

Because I work, and have always worked, in the realm of the corporation, my graphic design work is, well, safe. It is clean and easy to read/understand. I use paper with a nice tactile element, type faces that are well-designed and highly legible. I would even go so far as to say that my style is no style. That is to say, I have no identifiable style. Whatever is best for the client and the job at hand is what I do. Graphic design-wise, I am a ghost.

My fiber work is just as safe and commercially marketable. Is this shallow? Is this bad? I don't know. There are times when it makes me feel like less of an artist, but is that insecurity or valid self-criticism? Again, I don't know. I know that I can make things that I like, and that stretch me as a craftsman, and people will buy them. But I never stretch too far. I never take that leap that the RLA can take, off the edge and into the unknown.

For me, the bottom line is always the bottom line. That's why he's an artist, and I'm just an artisan.
Miz Shoes

Baubles and Beads

I went to a huge bead show this weekend. In fact, I went twice. And I spent money. I wish I knew why little bits of glass and silver get me so hot. It seems that a LOT of women feel the same way. The joint was packed with women (and men) all fondling beads and buying beads and showing off their creations of beaded jewelry.

When you see some of these baubles, you understand why beads are currency in so many civilizations. Except for the part about you can make them yourself, I don't see why the custom of using beads as money ever went out of fashion. I told one vendor that if she needed a website, I could build one, not for money, but just for beads.

Seems a fair deal to me, because if she gave me money, I'd only blow it on more beads. Glass and gem stones, and silver and vermeil. Now, in your best Homer Simpson voice, repeat after me: "OOOOh, Garnets."

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